The Excellency of Hand

The Excellency of Hand
English Viola Da Gamba Duos
Robert Smith, Paolo Pandolfo
Resonus Classics: RES10186. 73’52

 

This CD, released in 2017, features a range of 17th-century music for viola da gamba duos by Christopher Simpson and John Jenkins together with two pieces by their contemporary,  Simon Ives, and a tiny Prelude by one of the performers. Most of the pieces are in the form of ‘divisions’, an international improvisatory method dating back to the early 16th century which involves elaborating on a theme by joining up the notes with shorter ones in a variety of forms. Such elaboration and ornamentation of a melodic line forms the basis of subsequent keyboard and instrumental music. Continue reading