Widely admired as a virtuoso exponent of the viola da gamba through his concert performances and recordings of key composers from Germany, France, Spain, England and his native Italy, Paolo Pandolfo has in recent years been developing the instincts and skills for improvising and composing. He began his research in the field of renaissance and baroque musical idioms around 1979 along with violinist Enrico Gatti and harpsichordist Rinaldo Alessandrini. Studies with Jordi Savall at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland were followed by membership of Savall’s Hespèrion XX between 1982 and 1990. A highly successful recording of the CPE Bach Sonatas for viola da gamba (on Tactus) in 1990 saw Pandolfo nominated as Professor of viola da gamba at his alma mater, the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, where he has been concentrating his teaching activities ever since.
Since 1997 all of Paolo Pandolfo’s recordings have appeared on Glossa. The odyssey commenced with the first complete recording of Antoine Forqueray’s Pièces de Viole, followed by discs devoted to the music of Tobias Hume, Marin Marais (Le Labyrinthe et autres histoires was devoted to character music whilst Grand Ballet focused on Marais’ gestures and dance music) and Sainte-Colombe. Pandolfo has regularly ventured beyond the realms of Renaissance and Baroque notated music for his instrument; he achieved a notable success with his own transcription of the six Bach Solo Suites and recorded an unaccompanied recital, A Solo. Travel Notes and Improvisando have further demonstrated Pandolfo’s command of the possibilities of the viola da gamba as a composer himself.
His performing activities have taken him all over the world, playing with artists such as Emma Kirkby, Rolf Lislevand, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Mitzi Meyerson, José Miguel Moreno and many others. He has been described as the Yo Yo Ma of the viol. Since 1992 he has been directing Labyrinto, a group of four or five viola da gambas, which is dedicated to the huge consort music repertoire.
Paolo Pandolfo builds bridges between the past and the present, bringing spontaneous and immediate life in the performance of baroque and renaissance music using medias such as improvisation, transcriptions and composition of modern pieces, being convinced that the patrimony of ancient music can be a powerful inspiration for the future of the western musical tradition.
That the viola da gamba music of Marin Marais represents a treasure trove of expressive and technical possibilities is just reason for Paolo Pandolfo’s eagerly-awaited return to the composer’s works with his new Marais 1689 recording for Glossa. Pandolfo’s style of playing is apt for this music: meticulousness and sensitivity, and a technical strength which allows him to demonstrate the instrument’s versatility and gives him a sense of rare freedom. [read more...]
The collective artistic endeavours of Glossa have recently been recognized with an award of Label of the Year for 2014 by a Europe-wide panel of classical music media organizations – print and online magazines, as well as radio broadcasters – who form the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) jury. This is to be presented at the Award Ceremony and Gala Concert in the Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw in April 2014. The Glossa adventure began back in 1992, led by two pioneering Spanish instrumentalists – brothers José Miguel Moreno and Emilio Moreno – who set about creating a treasure trove of recorded excellence, notably in the ever-developing field of “early music”. To this day, the label remains focused on its artists, supporting their musical journeys and inclinations, with the artistic direction entrusted to Carlos Céster. With a small team around him Céster operates from San Lorenzo de El Escorial, surrounded by the abundant natural riches of the mountains around Madrid and with an austere Monasterio in sight to ever encourage him in the rigour of his work. [read more...]