We are now selling our most popular selections of violin and cello duets in themed albums at a bargain price. The first is a baroque sheet music album andcontains the scores and individual parts of six great works. All of the music would be ideal to be played at a wedding.
About the arrangements
The music included in this album is: Air on a G String, Pachelbel Canon, our award winning Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Chiome D’Oro, Charpentier’s Te Deum and Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary. This is an excellent way to get to know some wonderful repertoire from this most exciting of all periods of music.
Here’s another great performance of Bach – this time from the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra playing on original instruments with energy and virtuosity:
Baroque is Best! Was there ever a more exciting time to be a musician than in the baroque era? This was the time the modern string instrument family was created, as was opera, concerto form and above all the equal temperament system which opened the doors to the full expressive potential of music. Baroque music is strongly disciplined but only because it is so full of feeling,and sometimes it seems to have almost more exuberance than it is possible to contain. In Brandenburg 3 (above) he exploits the full potential of string instruments in a way which must have been especially innovative and thrilling in his day.
Next Monday I’m recording a Bach cd of his third cello suite at Wadenhoe Church. The music is so happy in spirit that however fed up you may be feeling it usually has an uplifting effect. It’s in the uncomplicated key of C major and has a certain virility and confidence that makes it a joy to play, despite its technical challenges. You can link to our cd page here: https://www.fedorastrings.com/product-category/cd-sales/
I’m not an early music specialist but I’ve been reading musicologist Robert Donington’s book A Performer’sGuide to Baroque Music which has some interesting things to say:
” When a virtuoso cellist conveys a sense of undue strain in Bach’s unaccompanied suites by too massive a sonority and too heavy an articulation, this is not from any unsuitablity in his noble instrument; it is because he is applying a mental concept which, powerful and impressive though it may be, does not really lie within the baroque boundaries of style and is not really matched to the implications of the music.”
” The baroque performer was meant to set his stamp on the music. Reverence for the written text can be a virtue, but was no part of the baroque attitude. A text left deliberately incomplete was not meant to be exactly established but imaginatively realised. Options left open by the composer cannot be tied down to any exact intention: the intention was that they should remain the performer’s options. Fab Mr Donington Quoting sentences out of context is a bit like the dodgy practice of manipulating phrases from the bible to make your point. But one interesting aspect of the book is that Mr Donington believes that baroque performers were trained in a completely different way from modern performers and that improvisation in concerts and creatively altering music you were going to play was the norm. This must have given players a wonderful sense of freedom which would be hard to regain today. Perhaps the main point though is just to enjoy it. You can buy the book by clicking here: https://www.abebooks.co.uk/book-search/isbn/0571097979/
Yesterday we gave a string duet concert in Leicester at All Saints Church. The programme was mainly baroque music and included our own arrangements of Clarke’s Prince of Denmark’sMarch, Corelli’s Violin Sonata No 1, Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Purcell’s Fairest Isle (one of my favourites at the moment), some of Bach’s two part inventions, Pachelbel’s Canon and Vivaldi’s Gloria.
After the concert we chatted to Father Martin who had been a professional cellist before he joined the church and had taught at the Menhuin School. This was an occasion where you are suddenly alarmingly aware that some of your audience have been extremely knowledgeable – but Father Martin was very generous and we came away with happy memories of the event.
To buy our baroque sheet music arrangements click here: https://www.fedorastrings.com/product-category/baroque/
Roger is busy working on new baroque sheet music for string duet at the moment. We feel strongly that many of the pieces suitable for wedding ceremonies are not usually performed, and it’s these which we’re intending pioneering. We now have our own versions of Vivaldi’s Gloria, Charpentier’s Te Deum, some movements from a Corelli violin sonata, Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair and Lark in The Clear Air; and more music is underway. My own commitment to this has been to promise to work out how to use Finale Print ( a computerised music notation system), so that I can arrange music myself. .Our other motive is that we love the music and are desperate to play it!
Last week I came across a fascinating book by musicologist Robert Donington entitled A Performer’s Guide to Baroque Music.
About the book
We are playing a lot of baroque music at the moment so I was interested to know what the author would say – although I expected it to be rather dry, a bit like the ornaments’ section of Grade 5 Theory. Imagine my delight then when , opening the book more or less at random, I came across the following impassioned statement:
“We are of this modern age; and much has changed which could not be changed back even if we so desired. But not our deeper human nature, and not the essential musicianship so intimately bound up with our human nature. These do not change. The start of good baroque performance is knowing that there were ordinary human beings under those concealing wigs and crinolines. Obviously there is discipline in great baroque music: but it is a discipline of strong feeling, strongly ordered. Cold formality and cautious reticence have no place in good baroque style.”
More inspiring quotes
A little further on he continues:“In baroque music the performer is king. It is baroque spontaneity we are trying to recapture. It is always a mistake in rehearsal to press a point of style against the convictions of the musicians concerned.”
This is worth buying I couldn’t borrow the book so I wrote the quotes out by hand.I’ll buy a copy of his book now to find out what else he has to say. If the rest is as full of feeling as this, it will be a joy to read.