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Garth Knox

Garth Knox fiddle, viola, viola d’amore
Agnès Vesterman violoncello
Sylvain Lemêtre percussion
Black Brittany

Henry Purcell
Music for a while

Antonio Vivaldi
Concerto for viola d’amore in d-minor RV 393
I Allegro
II Largo
III Presto

Garth Knox
Fuga libre for viola solo

Hildegard von Bingen
Ave, generosa
Guillaume de Machaut
Complainte ‘Tels rit au main qui au soir pleure’

Kaija Saariaho
Vent nocturne:
I. Sombres miroirs (Dark Mirrors)

John Dowland
Flow my tears

Kaija Saariaho
Vent nocturne:
II. Soupirs de l’obscur (Breaths of the Obscure)

Three Dances:
Saltarello I – Ghaetta – Saltarello II

Pipe, harp and fiddle

Recorded December 2009

ECM New Series 2157

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Many instrumental compositions in music history, even if they’re called sonata, suite, sinfonia or even fantasia, are essentially dances or else exhibit an unmistakable dancelike character. Not a few examples of so-called art music also have their origins in the folk music of a particular country or make use of popular or folk elements. Under the title “Saltarello”, a 14th-century fast Italian dance in ¾ time that survives today as a folk dance, viola player Garth Knox couples works stretching from the 12th century to the present day and demonstrates how fragile, even arbitrary, is the line drawn between art and folk music, but also that between old music and new sounds. Taking up fiddle, viola and viola d’amore, accompanied by cellist Agnès Vesterman and percussionist Sylvain Lemêtre, Knox presents his own works alongside music by Hildegard von Bingen; he juxtaposes the exquisite Renaissance sounds of John Dowland against pieces by Kaija Saariaho that make subtle use of electronics, and sets arrangements of traditional melodies and anonymous dance movements against Vivaldi’s D minor Viola d’amore Concerto – a sensuous survey of 1000 years of musical events.