- THE ATHENAEUM
- WEDDINGS & EVENTS
- FM YOUNG WRITERS COMPETITION
The ‘wandering musician’ is a traditional subject of art and literature. Christian Dietrich’s painting of 1745 characteristically shows a fiddler and a bagpipe player busking in front of an inn. This way not only is the connection between travelling and making a living readily established but also attributed to the musicians no less than their occasional audience.
The Wondering Fiddlers is only indirectly about ‘wandering’ spelt with an ‘a’ and more specifically about ‘wondering’ spelt with an ‘o’. Can modern fiddlers reflect critically on the music they cherish and practice day after day, hour after hour? And can modern listeners think and talk about music which is often perceived as elitist as they would do about the music they consume casually while commuting or shopping?
Of all fields, chamber music is the most problematic. Although many professional string players would rather spend their time performing small-scale, one-to-a-part compositions than large-scale orchestral works, the contemporary notion of chamber music inherited from the nineteenth century puts non-specialist listeners off and decreases the demand for that type of concert. In principle, any ticket holder can have access to the concert hall; in reality, the aura surrounding it, which makes it a kind of secular replacement for sacred venues, instils in the audience doubts on its ability to understand what is actually going on – a problem enhanced by the complexity of chamber repertoires.
The Wondering Fiddlers attempts to revert back to the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century concept of music for the chamber: compositions intended for an intimate setting where conversations between the musicians and the guests can take place. True, we will set the scene by selecting some great pieces of music from the past and by suggesting some themes for conversation. At the same time, we will remove the barrier between the players and the listeners and engage in a dialogue on the meaning of the music we present. This way, we will be able to play and re-play, listen and re-listen, question and re-question.
One final point: can ‘wondering fiddlers’ use seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music as a tool for cultural, social and economic development? As both present-day wandering fiddlers (with an ‘a’ this time) and the tutors of the Liverpool-based charity Early Music as Education (EMAE), we think we can: it is our duty to find and nurture musical talent wherever it may be – not only in London, Paris and New York but also in Nairobi, Havana and New Delhi – and to reach out to new listeners across the world.
Alberto Sanna, violin
I am an Italian violinist and musicologist from Sardinia. I live in London but work mostly in Liverpool. I specialise in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music: I study it, perform it, teach it and write about it, pretty much all day every day across the globe. The rest of the time I am with my wife and three daughters, my extended family and friends or watching football – too much perhaps!
Marino Capulli, violin
I am an Italian-Bulgarian violinist from Abruzzo. I live in L’Aquila, a city surrounded by the mountains of Central Italy. With the city’s main chamber orchestra, I perform all across Europe a repertoire that ranges from seventeenth-century to contemporary music. I spend my free time with my friends in the mountains, on the beach, at the lake or playing five-a-side and following the football team, I am crazy about, Juventus.
Elizabeth Elliott, violoncello
I am a cellist from The Wirral studying for a Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London. I enjoy playing a wide range of music from Corelli to Shostakovich as well as newly commissioned pieces; I also love learning and exploring ideas about early music and its role in our lives as musicians in the contemporary world. When I am not practising or playing music with my friends, you can find me reading Harry Potter (again!) and spending time with my wonderful family!
Chicken Forrestier with Smoked Bacon
Served with seasonal vegetables and potatoes