"If I were to play nothing but Matteis all my life, I wouldn't mind at all."
December 14, 2012 1:06 PM   Subscribe

The best classical performance you've never heard: the remarkable violinist Amandine Beyer plays the Diverse Bizzarrie Sopra La Vecchia Sarabanda Ò Pur Ciaccona, by 17th-century composer Nicola Matteis. Here she discusses trying to recreate Matteis's original violin technique, to understand why the Baroque composer, whose work pre-dates Johann Sebastian Bach, wrote his pieces the way he did. Previously, Beyer and her ensemble Gli Incogniti breathed life into one of classical music's most overplayed masterpieces, Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
posted by Rory Marinich (16 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite
The album this piece is from, False Consonances of Melancholy, on Amazon. It is wholly brilliant, though I'll admit the linked piece gets a hundredfold more plays than the rest of the album.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:10 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wow, I'm not normally a fan of Baroque but that Matteis piece is ~wonderful.~
posted by scottatdrake at 1:32 PM on December 14, 2012

I love Baroque music (with the possible exception of Vivaldi), and that Matteis piece was absolutely gorgeous.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:35 PM on December 14, 2012

Wow, that sounded almost bluegrassy in the beginning.
posted by archagon at 2:27 PM on December 14, 2012

Wow. After that 'breathed life' link, I have a big ol crush on ms. Beyer. What amazing fluidity and energy and calm. She sees the big picture.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 3:00 PM on December 14, 2012

this sounds so wildly contemporary. thanks, i'll have to explore more of her music.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 3:08 PM on December 14, 2012

This is great. For those into it, there are lots more repetitive-bass-line, inventive, rhythmically interesting, hypnotic / virtuosic baroque compositions on the recording "Altre Follie 1500-1750" by Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI (available on Spotify). Other key words to look for include "Chaconne" or "Passacaglia."
posted by violinflu at 4:30 PM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

My French being nil I have no idea what the historical foundations for her interpretation might be but the effect is delightful nonetheless...
posted by jim in austin at 4:30 PM on December 14, 2012

I'm not very well versed in classical/string performance, but what strikes me about these videos (and I watched them all) is that Amandine (and the ensembles she plays with) seems to use so much more of the tonal and dynamic spectrum of the instruments. More percussive, more switch-ups between a hard bow strike and a soft one.... more dynamic and more percussive feel in general.

I wonder if this style of performance may not be in vogue in part due to the exigencies of large room performance (losing softer notes) and large ensemble performance (a "smearing" of the dynamic performance by a large string section)?

Either way, as a fan of dynamics in music, I really like it.
posted by chimaera at 5:11 PM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm a big fan of the BWV100x partitas. Here's a good one. There's more.
posted by MtDewd at 6:11 PM on December 14, 2012

Best of all, there's more like it out there.
posted by Dr. Fetish at 7:46 PM on December 14, 2012

I prefer a slightly slower tempo, such as this version.
posted by pmurray63 at 10:40 PM on December 14, 2012

Just listening to the first link and oh my $DEITY, clearly going to have to buy this. Beautiful.

(Also seconding any Jordi Savall links, even without listening, because his ensemble is so fantastic.)
posted by immlass at 11:39 AM on December 15, 2012

Wow, I didn't catch this at first, and am I ever glad I clicked through. That's, just.... amazing.

I wonder how true it is to the original? Did they really have concerts that sounded something like this, four hundred years ago?
posted by Malor at 6:15 PM on December 15, 2012

Have listened to Diverse Bizarrie seven times so far today. May the gods rain a million blessings on you for sharing this, Rory Marinich. I hear so many musical rivers in this. My heart has been broken and aching, and It is whole and singing again. Amandine Beyer is fluid magic.
posted by Fibognocchi at 7:43 PM on December 16, 2012

posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:52 PM on December 22, 2012

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