Ampliamente admirado como exponente virtuoso de la viola da gamba, Paolo Pandolfo lleva ya algunos años ampliando sus intereses más allá de la interpretación y grabación de los compositores clave para su instrumento, y son cada vez más frecuentes sus incursiones en el campo de la improvisación y la composición. Sus actividades en la música renacentista y barroca comenzaron hacia 1979, al lado del violinista Enrico Gatti y del clavecinista Rinaldo Alessandrini. A los estudios con Jordi Savall en la Schola Cantorum Basiliensis en Suiza siguió la activa participación en Hespèrion XX, entre 1982 y 1990, año en el que grabó para Tactus un disco con las sonatas para viola da gamba de C.P.E. Bach, que tuvo un éxito extraordinario. También en ese año, Paolo Pandolfo sucedió a Jordi Savall en la cátedra de su instrumento en la Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, centro en el que desarrolla su actividad docente desde entonces.
Desde 1997, todas las grabaciones de Paolo Pandolfo han sido editadas por Glossa. Todo comenzó con la primera grabación completa de las Pièces de viole de Antoine Forqueray, a la que siguieron proyectos dedicados a Tobias Hume, Marin Marais (Le Labyrinthe et autres histoires se centra en las piezas de carácter, y Grand Ballet explora la gestualidad y la música de danza) y Sainte-Colombe. Pandolfo siempre se ha aventurado más allá de la música renacentista y barroca notada específicamente para su instrumento; así, ha cosechado éxitos notables con su propia transcripción de las seis Suites de Bach (originales para violonchelo), y con su recital titulado A Solo. Sus más recientes Travel Notes e Improvisando exploran con libertad las posibilidades de la viola da gamba y muestran a Pandolfo en su papel de compositor.
Su actividad concertística lo ha llevado por todo el mundo, tocando a solo o al lado de artistas como Emma Kirkby, Rolf Lislevand, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Mitzi Meyerson, José Miguel Moreno y muchos otros. Ha sido descrito como el Yo Yo Ma de la viola. Desde 1992, Pandolfo también dirige su propio grupo, Labyrinto, dedicado al extenso repertorio para consort de violas.
Paolo Pandolfo está convencido de que el patrimonio de la música antigua puede ser una poderosa fuente de inspiración para el futuro de la música occidental, idea que lo lleva a construir puentes entre el pasado y el presente que insuflan nueva vida a la música renacentista y barroca, y lo hace a través de la improvisación, la transcripción e incluso la composición de piezas modernas.
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...]
Paolo Pandolfo has dedicated so much energy over the years to the presence of the viola da gamba from the Baroque era that it is curious that, until now, he has not provided us with his interpretation of the major works for that instrument by one of France’s leading composers from that time: François Couperin. Together with his own colleagues (Amélie Chemin, playing a second viola da gamba, Thomas Boysen, theorbo and Baroque guitar and Markus Hünninger, harpsichord), Paolo Pandolfo has now turned to the Pièces de violes and to two Concerts from the 1724 collection Les Goûts réunis (which specifically call for the viol) to demonstrate the quality of Couperin’s contribution to the viol literature. Here Pandolfo talks about his relationship to the music and the technical and interpretative challenges posed for the modern player by François Couperin le grand. [read more...]
In each new recording that he makes of viola da gamba music (and that includes his own ‘contemporary’ offerings such as Improvisando), Paolo Pandolfo has a knack of reaching for and grasping the essence from within the musical scores in front of him. It is not just his technical mastery or an allied assiduous study of the sources – be it of Bach or Marais or Abel – but that more intangible ability to make such music – as here with four Suites by ‘Le Sieur de Machy’ from 1685 – jump off the page and come alive. De Machy’s world was that of Paris in the heyday of Le roi soleil, Louis XIV, and for all that the composer’s biography is today somewhat scant and shadowy (what was his first name? We do not know for sure), his Suites forming the Pièces de Violle vividly and vivaciously reflect the luxuriance and exuberance of the end of the 17th century in France, particularly through the means of dancing.[read more...]
Along with Paolo Pandolfo’s new recording of the Bach Viola da gamba Sonatas we are providing an opportunity to see and hear this thoughtful and thought-provoking musician talking about his current approach to the music of JS Bach; in particular, to what he considers as ‘new music’ (Sonatas) written by the composer for an old instrument (the viola da gamba) as compared to the Six Cello Suites, which were ‘old music’ for a new instrument. Pandolfo has also recorded these Cello Suites for Glossa. [read more...]
It seemed that the music of Carl Friedrich Abel was proving singularly impervious to modern performance initiatives. More is known about the life and times of this Köthen-born composer than about his actual music (he can be placed as a pupil of JS Bach and as someone who died in the year of the 17 year-old Beethoven’s first visit to Vienna). Yet it was as a virtuosic improviser on the by then (surely?) outdated instrument of the viola da gamba that Abel was equally known for by his contemporaries. So, the most suitable candidate in the 21st century for bringing back Abel’s music to its rightful place needs to be not only a supreme interpreter on the viola da gamba and steeped in its repertory but one capable of understanding the almost lost art of improvisation. [read more...]
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 concentrating on his instincts and skills for improvising and composing (not to mention continuing with his teaching). An artist who can bring out the expressive vitality and poetry in the viol music of composers such as Sainte-Colombe, Marin Marais or J.S. Bach is plainly also relishing the challenges of other musical explorations that have included, on disc, an unaccompanied tour de force in A Solo and a travelogue (from this artist who is a modern, high-tech nomad himself) in Travel Notes. [read more...]