Modern & crossover music for viols

  • Modern & crossover music for viols

    Since Via Artis Konsort joined this group as a member, I've become interested in the use of the viola da gamba in contemporary "crossover" music, much of it influenced by ancient styles. This thread invites discoveries and comments about this kind of music.

    1. First of all, of course, there's Via Artis Konsort, which is not really "crossover," but puts a creative spin on seldom-heard early music. (The word they use is "timeless.") They have a free download on Todo el mundo, which is described in detail in another thread.

    2. The German gambist Hille Perl is a co-founder of the group Los Otros, an "early music crossover ensemble" with an emphasis on Hispanic stylings.

    3. Irfan is a world music band from Bulgaria, similar to Dead Can Dance, but with the viola da gamba as a frequent part of the mix.

    I should also mention modern classical compositions that make use of the viol, by composers as diverse as South African Kevin Volans, British John Tavener, and American Douglas Leedy. I don't yet know much about these works myself.

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  • Timothy Vajda

    The independent label magnatune has just released an intriguing album, Bootstrap Physics by Timothy Vajda. A quote from the label: The viola da gamba, primarily found in music of the Renaissance and Baroque, is here used in varying combinations with electric guitar, synthesizer, acoustic guitar, and medieval fiddle. The musical style organically blends old with new, classical with popular. The result is a richly textured, expressive music with a sound all its own.Magnatune has a membership option where listeners can join for $15 a month and download unlimited music in a variety of formats. Proceeds are shared with the musicians on a more equitable basis than is usual in the music industry. Their website is

    Felis sylvestris

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  • Paolo Pandolfo also has an amazing work in 'Travel Notes'
    I could mention also Colleen, with 'Les Ondes Silencieuses'.

  • I've just found an album of original compositions by American viola da gamba player Roy Whelden.

    Felis sylvestris

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    • amscab said...
    • User
    • 17 Feb 2013, 02:49

    Kristina Wolfe + Paolo Pandolfo (again)

    Another interesting example is the album Swa Cwæð Eardstapa by composer/player Kristina Wolfe, whose very experimental compositions for viola da gamba and electronics remind me somewhat of Giacinto Scelsi.

    I guess the album Improvisando by Paolo Pandolfo might perhaps also be seen as "crossover" -- in a sense, it's early baroque, but since it seems to be totally improvised, one may argue that the musicians would necessarily carry other influences into their playing. Anyway, whatever you call it, it's lively and graceful baroque-inspired playing of the highest musicianship.

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