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The Manchester Gamba Book / Dietmar Berger


Release Date: 07/31/2012 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572863   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gervise GerrardeStephen GoodallRichard SumarteThomas Martine,   ... 
Performer:  Dietmar Berger
Number of Discs: 2 
Length: 2 Hours 39 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This 2 CD set is a long way from my usual nineteenth and twentieth century haunts of British music. Moreover, I must confess to finding it a bit hard going. However, that is my problem. It is certainly aimed at the specialist listener: one who has devoted his life to studying, thinking about and listening to ‘early music’. In overview, I guess that the reviewer in the ‘Manchester’ Guardian has summed up the general mood of this release well by describing it as ‘lugubrious’ music. Presumably this is not a criticism but a statement of fact.
 
What is the Manchester Gamba Book? Well for one thing, it is not a collection of ‘Lancastrian’ tunes. What gives the work its Mancunian connection is the fact that the collection of
Read more music was bought by the music scholar Dr. Henry Watson and was subsequently deposited as part of the Watson Collection in the Manchester Public Library. It is probably presently residing in a secret location awaiting the reopening of that great library after its major refurbishment.
 
The manuscript is important for a couple of reasons. Primarily, this is the largest collection of solo viol music surviving from the mid 17 th century. Technically, this means that there are 246 pieces written in tablature and a further 12 numbers written in conventional staff notation. Paul Furnas, in the liner-notes, has suggested that the inclusion of a ‘Table of Graces’ (a manual of ornaments) makes this document extremely important for musicologists. Apparently there is only one other such table in existence.
 
I decided to check up on what a ‘viola da gamba’ actually is. One web page wisely suggested that it is not a fretted cello. The latter instrument has four strings, whereas the viola da gamba has six or seven. In addition, talking of ‘frets’ suggests a guitar. However, this instrument has ‘movable’ frets unlike the guitar: they are made of gut and are tied onto the neck. There is also a different technique for holding the bow - underhand and not overhand. Tuning is another issue altogether and is best left to those who know what they are talking about.
 
The history of the viol family (there are a number of different sizes) ranges across the 15 th to the 18 th centuries - or from Henry VIII who was an aficionado to the age of Louis XIV. Many famous composers have written for the viol including Henry Purcell, J.S. Bach, William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons.
 
Paul Furnas has pointed out that half of the 38 contributors to the Manchester Gamba Book are unknown. However, four of these composers have the surname Read. It is suggested that one of them - a certain Henrie Read was probably the editor and compiler of the manuscript. Further conjecture suggests that Richarde Sumarte, who contributed more than thirty numbers, may have been a ‘resident music teacher’ in the Read household. Sumarte set a number of ‘old English’ songs such as ‘Roben is to the greens-woode gon’ and ‘Whoope doe me no harm’. Other composers mentioned by name in the manuscript included Stephen Goodall, Alfonso Ferrabosco, Willm Younge and Thomas Martine.
 
The liner-notes suggest that the Paven (CD 2 Track 15) is a little masterpiece. This is apparently the most richly ornamented piece in the viol repertoire.

Dietmar Berger was born in Cologne. After studying the cello at music colleges in Aachen, Düsseldorf and Leipzig, he played in the orchestra of the Landesbühen Sachsen in Dresden. He is now based in his birthplace and plays both cello and viola da gamba. He is a member of the Trio Köln with Gudrun Höbold (violin) and Hubert Käppel (guitar). He has made a number of recordings and has contributed both compositions and arrangements for the instruments.

This double-CD is definitely for the dedicated listener. Without doubt, attending to 159 minutes of viola da gamba music would surely prove a challenge to even the most enthusiastic ‘ancient music’ fan. Yet these tunes allow the listener to enter a world of music that appears so far removed from the classical and romantic eras that dominate the musical scene. There is a timelessness about these characteristically sad, melancholic and reflective pieces that defies time itself. I may not relate to this music personally, but I can see why this collection is so important for scholars and enthusiasts. I can understand why it can be a moving experience for listeners who are attuned to the music’s mood. Certainly, Dietmar Berger plays this music with depth and what I take to be a huge understanding of the technical and historic aspects of the genre. I am sure that listeners who specialise in this music will hope that more of the Manchester Gamba Book will be recorded in the coming years. 

Finally, Naxos has provided a link to the Viola da Gamba Society of America (and not as stated in the liner notes which is a misprint) where listeners who are viol or guitar players can download the tablature of their favourite pieces.
 
-- John France, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Paven by Gervise Gerrarde
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
2.
Untitled by Stephen Goodall
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
3.
Whoope dow me no harme by Richard Sumarte
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
Period: Renaissance 
4.
The Buildings by Richard Sumarte
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
Period: Renaissance 
5.
Salte pitts by Richard Sumarte
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
Period: Renaissance 
6.
Preludium (2) by Richard Sumarte
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
Period: Renaissance 
7.
Monsieur's Allman by Richard Sumarte
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
Period: Renaissance 
8.
Lachrymae after John Dowland by Richard Sumarte
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
Period: Renaissance 
9.
Daphe by Richard Sumarte
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
Period: Renaissance 
10.
A Thumpe, for lute by Thomas Martine
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
11.
A Coranto by Gervise Gerrarde
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
12.
The King's Maske by Richard Sumarte
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
13.
Preludiu by Richard Sumarte
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
14.
A Saraband by William Kinglake
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
15.
Untitled by John Jenkins
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
16.
Sarabande by William Younge
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
Period: Renaissance 
17.
Saraband by Thomas Woodson
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
18.
Almaine by John Jenkins
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
19.
Courantes no 1 & 2 by Alfonso Ferrabosco
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
20.
An Almaine by Joseph Sherlie
Performer:  Dietmar Berger (Viola Da Gamba)

Sound Samples

The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 1. Queen Marie's Dumpe (R.S.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Third Tuning: No. 11. A Paven (Mr. Joseph Sherlie)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 22. - (Stephen Goodall)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 3. Fortune (R.S.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 4. Roben is to the greens-woode gon (R.S.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 13. Preludiu (R.S.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 5. Whoope doe me no harme (R.S.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 6. Daphne (R.S.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 7. Monusier's Allman (Mr. R. Sumarte)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 9. Lachryme (R.S.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 11. Solus cum sola (R.S.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Third Tuning: No. 10. Coranto (Alphonso Ferrabosco)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Third Tuning: No. 8. Coranto (Alphonso Ferrabosco)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 8. Salte pitts (R.S.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 21. - (Mr. Elliot, Oxon.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Third Tuning: No. 12. A Thumpe (Mr. Tho Martine)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 19. - (Stephen Goodall)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Second Tuning: No. 2. A Coranto (G. Gerrarde)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Second Tuning: No. 3. Coranto (R. Sumarte)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 27. Saraband (Mr. Thomas Woodson)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 26. - (Mr. Willm Younge)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 17. - (Mr. Elliot, Oxon.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 16. - (Stephen Goodall)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 2. What if a Daye
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Second Tuning: No. 1. Malte Man (Mr. R. Sumarte)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Third Tuning: No. 6. - (Gervise Gerrarde)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 10. The Buildings (R.S.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 15. Preludiu (R.S.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 12. The Nightingale (R.S.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 18. - (Mr. Younge)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Second Tuning: No. 4. The King's Maske (R. Sumarte)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 25. Preludiu (Mr. Rich. Sumarte)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Third Tuning: No. 7. An Almaine (Mr. Joseph Sherlie)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Third Tuning: No. 14. Coranto (G. Willis)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Third Tuning: No. 13. A Saraband (Willm. Kinglake)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Thirteenth Tuning: No. 4. - (John Jenkins)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Eleventh Tuning: No. 1. Almaine (John Jenkins)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Third Tuning: No. 15. Paven (Mr. Gervise Gerrarde)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 14. Preludium (R.S.)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Third Tuning: No. 5. Coranto (Alphonso Ferrabosco)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Third Tuning: No. 3. Coranto (Alphonso Ferrabosco)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Tenth Tuning: No. 9. Saraband (John Jenkins)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 23. - (Stephen Goodall)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 20. - (Stephen Goodall)
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The Sixteenth Tuning: No. 1. -
The Manchester Lyra-Viol Manuscript, "The Manchester Gamba Book": The First Tuning: No. 24. A Sarabande (Mr. Willm Younge)

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