Tim Hinck's thoughts on music and life- There is a lady living across the street from me. She is dying of cancer. I have never seen anyone so full of life and energy. She loves to work outside in the flowers and grass of her yard. I can see her savoring every sunny day... the way she stands up from planting a flower bulb with such satisfaction on her face and claps the dirt from her gloves with resolution. I want to be like that lady.

Location: Schalkwijk, Utrecht, Netherlands

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Ralph Meulenbroeks' Viola da Gamba

The Viola d'Gamba is one of the most beautiful instruments I have ever heard. If you've never heard one, you should find a recording and snatch it up. Now that Early Music is the newest accessory to a Jaguar and a six-digit income, you should be able to find this music at any self-respecting yuppie store. If you like cello-music, this is a slightly softer and more vocal version of a Cello. It has 6 or 7 strings and can thus play very full chords. Besides having a fretted finger-board, it is played in the same way as a modern cello (with a bow). And the strings are gut instead of steel.

I took these two pictures at the Klooster Kerk in the Hague during Ralph Meulenbroeks' recent solo recital.


Blogger An Enlightened Fellow said...

I will have to check that out. I didn't realize these existed.

1/24/2006 8:50 PM  
Blogger jerry said...

Strangely enough, it was the dolphins that led me to you, and what better greeting than to find out that they FINALLY put frets on a cello! And my doesn't it look much better when they stand up to play it... well, I never!

I'm pleased beyond words to have been a part of the inspiration for this blog, but also sad to report that just yesterday I saw a serpent made out of pvc. It's a sad world we live in.

1/24/2006 9:58 PM  
Blogger jerry said...

hmm. comment moderation sure puts a damper on things.

I will try again later. one of these days, somehow, I will make the cut. I just know it.

PS - I found different kinds of viola d'gambas. tenor, etc. what is the one in the picture, and what are the ranges of each? I would love to learn...

1/29/2006 4:16 PM  
Blogger jerry said...

...And for my third comment. I think it only fair that if comments must be approved by the blog author, posts must be approved by the blog readers. Can we take a vote on these things?

1/29/2006 4:17 PM  
Blogger Ijsbreker said...

dear Gerald, sorry for the comment moderation. did i miss a user's manual somewhere? well, anyway, the VdGamba came in several sizes and was most popular during the reign of Louis the XIV, so it's peak was during the end of the Renaissance and through the Baroque. Even though there were several sizes, the only three that were really used in the consort were Treble, Tenor and Bass. Ralph is playing a Bass Viol in the picture and it's the size that most compares to a modern cello. (And he's only standing up because he's just finished playing). The bass viol has 6 or 7 strings (Ralph's has 7) and a sloping back. The strings are tuned usually like this from high to low: d-a-e-c-g-d (so you can see it's very easy to make big chords). Find some Gamba music to listen to... my favorite recording right now is a recent recording of Bach's solo cello suites arranged for Viola da Gamba. (Arranged/performed by Paolo Pandolfo). You need to check this out! Buy it, it's worth every penny.

2/01/2006 1:40 AM  
Blogger An Enlightened Fellow said...

I vote yes.

2/01/2006 1:42 AM  
Blogger jerry said...

Did you mean the recording of the six suites? I kind of hope not, because I can't find it for under $40. Ah well.

Thanks for letting us vote. There's hope for democracy after all.

2/02/2006 7:17 PM  

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