09 August 2015


It's the nature of modern society that all is relative and interchanged, We call this multiculturalism or diversity or whatever but it's such a vibrant and interesting way to live. Exposed to all manners, all matters intersecting and interacting and influencing. I was thinking of this as I read the program of Salut!Baroque. I'd had a lesson with David, CSO bassist, who mentioned he'd bought a pickup and was investigating an amp and talked of cabling piano to PC to use Sibelius. So much of classical as meaning past. Kyle, another CSO bassist, talked to me the other day of jazzer Red Mitchell; he was using strings tuned in fifths, named after RM. So much the impregnability of musical styles. Then off to record Salut!Baroque playing music that's of C17th with recorders and harpsichord and gut and even a bass violin (!) but reading of the players' history. One performed Jazz at MONA; another played the National Folk Festival; another plays Rock & Roll (viola: I think back to Mackenzie Theory, a fave prog rock band from '70s Melbourne featuring viola); another led a tango band. Sitting listening to this lovely period music is all seems incomprehensible but this is our world, and the world a modern musicians, of crossed boundaries. THis was lovely. The gentle, voice-like recorders; the plucked harpsichord and the cello between the legs. The violin family looked familiar enough although sounded softer and fatter with the gut strings and baroque bows. And that very unusual bass violin, fretless, about the size of a cello, I guess tuned in fifths. Matt Greco was the main violinist and he impressed mightily with chops and feel and plenty of bodily expression. The theme was of the master luthier, presumably Nicolò Amati, a grandson in the Amati family of Cremona, who survived the plague and passed on skills that would otherwise have been lost. Nicolo Amati taught Stradivari, Stainer and Guaneri amongst others. The music was of this period, Corelli, Albinoni, Vivaldi with other names Haym, Valentino, Bertali, Fiorenza. Nice to hear lesser names, although the better knowns are often better known for a reason. A lovely outing and presumably authentic visit to a very different era.

Salut! Baroque performed at the Albert Hall. They comprised Sally Melhuish and Hans-Dieter Michatz (recorders), Matthew Greco, Annie Gard and Julia Russoniello (baroque violins), Valmai Coggins (baroque viola), Belinda Mainwaring (baroque cello), Tim Blomfield (bass violin) and Monika Kornel (harpsichord).

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