Friday, 1 March 7:30pm
What sounds you will discover to brighten your February when Sonate Concertate shows the Pacific
Baroque Festival ensemble in full instrumental force. With a unique combination of instruments, these baroque music specialists have been especially assembled for a celebration of the concertate style.
This musical innovation found its early expression through the efforts of Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli at St Mark’s Basilica in the late 16th century, in what came to be known as the Venetian School. The
unique architectural layout of the Basilica, with its opposing choir lofts, facilitated a polychoral style
where two choirs sang independently in alternation, a practice which easily translated into the
instrumental domain. The concertato style quickly gained widespread popularity across Italy and the rest of Europe.
Sonate Concertate brings together baroque violins, viola da gamba, baroque harp, harpsichord and
sackbuts (precursor to the trombone) for an authentic exploration of this unique form. The sackbuts
provide a particularly special timbre to the ensemble, contrasting their bright, brassy sounds to the
lyrical strings. As trombonist and sackbut player Robert Fraser will tell you, all sackbuts are trombones, but not all trombones are sackbuts. Baroque violins differ from modern violins in a couple key features: Firstly, they use gut strings instead of steel, and secondly the bow has a convex tension instead of concave. The effect of these variances is that the strings produce a gentler sound with less vibrato but allowing for more nuance within this phrasing and bowing.
Concert-goers will have a rare opportunity to experience the baroque harp. The baroque harp similarly possesses an ability for greater nuance than its modern version in that there are no sustaining pedals, leaving the harpist greater opportunity to engage in more active realizations of their given part, similar to a harpsichord’s advantages over a modern piano.
The combination of these period instruments is surely a rare sound to hear, as rare as the music being performed – neglected music whose charm and beauty will be revealed by this uncommon blend of instruments. Discover then leave inspired by the wonderfully alive music from early 17th-century Italian composers with less familiar names performed by a wonderful combination of instruments playing their beautiful harmonies (“Sonate”), together (“Concertate”).