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Saltarello / Garth Knox, Agnes Vesterman, Sylvain Lemetre


Release Date: 05/08/2012 
Label:  Ecm   Catalog #: 4764501  
Composer:  TraditionalHildegard of BingenJohn DowlandHenry Purcell,   ... 
Performer:  Agnès VestermanGarth KnoxSylvain Lemêtre
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



SALTARELLO Garth Knox (va, viola d’amore, vn); Agnès Vesterman (vc); Sylvain Lemêtre (perc) ECM B0016623-02


TRADITIONAL/CUNNINGHAM Black Brittany. PURCELL Music for a While. VIVALDI V iola d’Amore Concerto. KNOX Fuga Libre. Read more class="COMPOSER12">HILDEGARD/MACHAUT Ave Generosa. Tels Rit au Main. SAARIAHO Vent Nocturne I, II. DOWLAND Flow My Tears. TRADITIONAL 3 Dances. Pipe, Harp, and Fiddle


Garth Knox, who plays viola, viola d’amore, and fiddle, was born in Ireland and grew up in Scotland. Everyone in his family played a stringed instrument, and since Garth was the youngest, he was given the viola. He eventually attended the Royal College of Music in London, where he won several prizes for chamber music and viola. In 1983, he joined Ensemble Intercontemporain at the invitation of Pierre Boulez. From 1990 to 1998 he was a member of the Arditti String Quartet and toured the world playing the music of today’s leading composers. Currently he lives in Paris, from where it is easy to travel to other cities in Europe, the United States or Japan for recitals, concertos and chamber concerts. His first solo compact disc, containing works by Ligeti, Dusapin, Berio, Kurtág, and others, won the Deutsche Schallplaten Prize.


On Saltarello he joins with cellist Agnès Vesterman and percussionist Sylvain Lemêtre in playing arrangements of music from by a number of composers, some from earliest times and others from our own century.


Black Brittany is a Celtic-sounding arrangement of the traditional Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair and the late Johnny Cunningham’s Leaving Brittany played on viola d’amore and cello by Knox and Vesterman. Henry Purcell’s Music for a While has been played by every imaginable combination of instruments and never loses its innate power to please. If you want to hear it sung, there is an excellent version with countertenor Alfred Deller on Harmonia Mundi. On this disc it is given in a charming string version. Vivaldi’s Viola d’Amore Concerto is a very different piece when the only accompaniment is a single cello. However, that does not make it less of an interesting composition. Actually the soft-voiced viola d’amore is more present when it has less competition.


Knox’s own Fuga Libre for solo viola is a fascinating 21st-century rendition of this ancient form. It certainly proves that Knox is a most able composer. The following piece combines Hildegard’s 11th-century Ave Generosa and Guillaume de Machaut’s 14th-century Tels Rit au Ma(t)in (He Who Laughs in the Morning) into an interesting ode to love. Kaija Saariaho’s Vent Nocturne has two parts: “Sombres Mirroirs” (Dark Mirrors) and “Soupirs de l’Obscur” (Breaths of the Obscure). She notes that the sound of the viola has always suggested breathing to her, so breath and the wind became major elements of the electronic part of these compositions.


Accomplished lutenist and composer John Dowland originally wrote Flow My Tears in 1596 as an instrumental work called Lachrimae Pavane. Knox’s arrangement for viola and cello is passionate and enthralling. The three dances from the 14th century give us a chance to enjoy a simple pleasure of the Middle Ages. You can picture yourself watching or even participating in the athletic dances at a country fair; saltare is an Italian word meaning to jump, and dancing the saltarello involves some artistic leaping. Pipe, Harp, and Fiddle is based on traditional music from the tiny Blasket Islands off the west coast of Ireland. Arranged for fiddle and percussion, this music speaks of the hard life on isolated bits of land that pit man against the huge forces of nature. The simple music of fiddle and percussion expresses it in a robust manner.


This program has recorded sound that is clear and astringent.


FANFARE: Maria Nockin
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Works on This Recording

1. Black Brittany by Traditional
Performer:  Agnès Vesterman (Cello), Garth Knox (Viola/Viola D'amore/Fiddle), Sylvain Lemêtre (Percussion)
2. Ave generosa by Hildegard of Bingen
Performer:  Agnès Vesterman (Cello), Garth Knox (Viola/Viola D'amore/Fiddle), Sylvain Lemêtre (Percussion)
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; Germany 
3. Second Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 2, Flow, my teares by John Dowland
Performer:  Agnès Vesterman (Cello), Garth Knox (Viola/Viola D'amore/Fiddle), Sylvain Lemêtre (Percussion)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1600; England 
4. Oedipus, Z 583: Music for a while by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Agnès Vesterman (Cello), Garth Knox (Viola/Viola D'amore/Fiddle), Sylvain Lemêtre (Percussion)
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1692; England 
5. Fuga libre by Garth Knox
Performer:  Agnès Vesterman (Cello), Garth Knox (Viola/Viola D'amore/Fiddle), Sylvain Lemêtre (Percussion)
6. Concerto for Viola d'Amore in D minor, RV 393 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Agnès Vesterman (Cello), Garth Knox (Viola/Viola D'amore/Fiddle), Sylvain Lemêtre (Percussion)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
7. Tels rit au main qui au soir by Guillaume de Machaut
Performer:  Agnès Vesterman (Cello), Garth Knox (Viola/Viola D'amore/Fiddle), Sylvain Lemêtre (Percussion)
Period: Medieval 
Written: circa 1340; France 
8. Saltarello by Traditional
Performer:  Agnès Vesterman (Cello), Garth Knox (Viola/Viola D'amore/Fiddle), Sylvain Lemêtre (Percussion)
9. Ghaetta by Traditional
Performer:  Agnès Vesterman (Cello), Garth Knox (Viola/Viola D'amore/Fiddle), Sylvain Lemêtre (Percussion)
10. Vent nocturne for Viola and Live Electronics by Kaija Saariaho
Performer:  Agnès Vesterman (Cello), Garth Knox (Viola/Viola D'amore/Fiddle), Sylvain Lemêtre (Percussion)

Sound Samples

Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair - arr. for viola d'amore and cello: Black Brittany
Oedipus - arr. for viola d'amore and cello: Music for a while
Viola d'amore Concerto in D minor, R.393 - arr. for viola d'amore and cello: Allegro
Viola d'amore Concerto in D minor, R.393 - arr. for viola d'amore and cello: Largo
Viola d'amore Concerto in D minor, R.393 - arr. for viola d'amore and cello: Presto
Fuga libre
Ave, generosa - arr. for fiddle and percussion: Ave, generosa - Complainte "Tels rit au main qui au soir pleure"
Vent Nocturne: I. Sombres miroirs (Dark Mirrors)
Second Booke of Songes, 1600 - arr. for viola d'amore and cello: Flow my tears
Vent Nocturne: II. Soupirs de l'obscur (Breaths of the Obscure)
Three Dances: Saltarello I - Ghaetta - Saltarello II
Pipe, harp and fiddle

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