Johann Mattheson on Violoncello da Spalla
And on continuo playing
Johann Mattheson (1681-1764) from Hamburg, was a singer, composer, diplomat, lexicographer and music theorist. He studied violin, harpsichord, singing and composition and, at nine, was already an organist in a church in Hamburg and also a singer in the Opera chorus. He debuted at 15 as a soloist in a soprano feminine role. A close friend of Georg Haendel, he sang in the first representation of Almira. When he writes about music, he surely knows his subject first-hand.
There are two excellent points in the few lines that I quoted in the pic above:
1. The playing position is described in such detail that it leaves little chance for confusion
2. The bass line is enriched by “rapid things, variations and ornaments”. It’s not just the bass line played plain as it is. The continuo is realised with great virtuosity.
Updates from our workshop
This week we had a blast going to Cremona to buy maples! We found many gorgeous future backs of our Violoncello da Spalla. It was exciting! As we use a not conventional length, it’s not easy to find them!
Then Daniela was sick for the rest of the week. So this newsletter was very short but with much food for thought.
Featured video of the week
A video from our lockdown time, almost one year ago!