On Friday night we went to a concert. The Cobram Guitar Duet were performing at a local village hall. There was a generous buffet laid on too and I have to say coffee, fairy cakes and live classical guitar music go together very well.
The first half of the concert was dedicated to transcriptions of early music. This began with a rare chance to hear (in a North Yorkshire village hall, at any rate) a Suite by William Lawes. Lawes had worked as "a musician in ordinary for lutes and voices" for Charles I and had the misfortune to be shot in the English Civil War. The Lawes was followed by works by Dowland, Frescobaldi, Praetorius and that most prolific of composers, Anon.
The second half was dedicated to more modern guitar music - from Tarrega's famous tremolo-marathon Recuerdos de la Alhambra and Albeniz' Asturias to a super-cool arrangement of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
It was a magical evening. I found myself reflecting on how much more alive live music is compared with the recorded equivalent - and, particularly in the early pieces, what it must have been like in the days before mechanical recording when to hear a piece at all you had to either play it or have it played.
Although I'll certainly post it when they do, The Cobram Duo are yet to put any examples of their playing on Youtube, so I'll post some music I've been meaning to post instead. It's certainly related to what I've been writing about, though. Rather than early music transcribed for guitar, this is twentieth-century music played on lutes - some of Stockhausen's Zodiac pieces for musical boxes, Tierkreis. The first in this series is Leo, the lion, which is perhaps the most clearly characterised of the pieces and, as such, a good "way in". I always think Stockhausen's lion is vaguely reminiscent of Saint-Saens' portrayal in The Carnival of the Animals:
The gig we went to was - I think - in aid of Gilling West Village Hall repair fund. If you're looking for ways of fundraising, the Cobram Duet are, I believe, looking for gigs! You can find out more about them at their website.
6 months ago