L’Oiseaux Lyre

July Concert

L’Oiseaux Lyre

Ruth Wilkinson (recorder) – Miriam Morris (viol) – David Macfarlane (harpsichord)

Sunday 7 July 2013, 2pm

Wyselaskie Auditorium

29 College Crescent, Parkville

Meet the Artists

Ruth Wilkinson is a recorder and viol player specializing in violone whose musical expertise and passions are based on the performance of music from the 12th to the 18th centuries. Her performances have been praised for their musical integrity, imagination and brilliance. As a member of many of Australia’s early music ensembles including La Romanesca, Capella Corelli and Consort Eclectus she has toured extensively throughout Australia, Europe and South East Asia for Musica Viva. With Samantha Cohen, Ruth is a member of Melbourne based Ludovico’s Band.

Ruth has recorded numerous CDs on Move and Larrikin labels with her ensembles and has also released a solo recording of French recorder music by Dieupart entitled Countess of Sandwich. Ruth’s playing commitments are complemented by teaching recorder and Historical Performance Practice at the Early Music Studio of the University of Melbourne. In 2012 she was made an honorary associate of the Monash University School of Music. Ruth has produced a generation of talented professional recorder players who are working in Australia, Europe and America.

Miriam Morris pursues a varied career as a soloist and chamber musician as a player of the viola da gamba. In addition to her work with early music ensembles, she has appeared as a specialist baroque performer with the major symphony, opera and chamber orchestras of Australia, including the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Pinchgut Opera. She is often heard on the ABC and has played in Arts Festivals throughout Australia. She plays with Consort Eclectus, Convivio and Les GoûtsRéunis. Miriam has performed throughout Australia and in the US, New Zealand, England and Sweden.

Miriam teaches viola da gamba at the University of Melbourne and has taught at the Victorian College of the Arts and Monash University. She pioneered the teaching of viols at primary and secondary level in ensemble-based programmes in South Australia and Victoria.

Miriam’s solo CD of solo works and songs of  Tobias Hume on the ‘Move’ label received international critical acclaim. She has also recorded for ABC Classics. Consort Eclectus recorded its first CD in 2007 with commissioned works by Australian composers Natalie Williams and Calvin Bowman. She has recently collaborated in a, yet to be released, recording of the Handel Recorder Sonatas with Ruth Wilkinson and John O’Donnell.

David Macfarlane (harpsichord) studied organ at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music and musicology at the University of Sydney where he was the organ scholar. From early in his studies, David has been particularly interested in historically informed performances of keyboard and choral music from the earliest manuscript sources through to the music of contemporary composers. After graduating, David moved to Austria, where he studied in and graduated from the church music and performance departments of the University for Performing Arts, Vienna. David was active as a performer and repetiteur whilst based in Europe. He was the Director of Music at Salvator am Wienerfeld where he officiated on the historically classified 1741 Dacci organ. He has recorded and performed live for a number of national broadcast companies.

Since returning to Australia, David has continued to follow his passion for organ and harpsichord performance and choir training. David has conducted and developed two major choirs. David is the organist at Newman College, as well as organist and harpsichordist for Past Echoes and is on the staff of the University of Melbourne. In recent years, David has directed the choir at All Saints’ Anglican Church, East St Kilda, presented recitals for the Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields, the Past Echoes Autumn Festival, the Organ Society of South Australia, Christ Church, Brunswick, St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne and Adelaide Town Hall.


Jacques Morel(1700-1749) Chaconne en trio from “Premier livre de pièces de violle”
Marin Marais(1656-1728) Les voix humaines from “Pièces de viole du Second Livre”
François Couperin(1668-1733)


Huitième ordre (si mineur)L’Ausoniène, allemande/Première Courante/

Rondeau, Passacaille/ Rondeau

Quatrième Concert from “Les Concerts Royaux”

Prélude/ Allemande/ Courante Françoise/ Courante a

L’ italiène/ Sarabande/ Rigaudon/ Forlane/ Rondeau

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) Trio sonata in G minorAdagio/ Vivace/ Adagio/ Allegro

Carl Philipp Emanuel Sonata in G minor for viola da gamba and

Bach (1714-1788)             obbligato harpsichord

Allegro moderato/ Larghetto/ Allegro assai

Georg Philipp                  Sonata no.4 for recorder and basso continuo from

Telemann (1681-1767)      “Sonate Metodiche

Andante/ Presto/ Con tenerezza/ Allegro

**After the concert you are invited to meet the artists over light refreshments**


Program Notes

During the latter part of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th, the bass viol was the preferred instrument of the French composer/virtuoso such as Le Sieur de Machy, Marin Marais and Antoine Forqueray.  Music flourished at the court of Louis XIV and it was in France that the instrument had its widest popularity.  Marais was a pupil of Le Sieur de Sainte-Colombe and spent the majority of his working life in the service of Louis XIV and from 1715-25 served under the Regency and Louis XV.  Most of his huge output is contained in his five books of Pieces de Viole, which contain over 600 pieces including many choices of preludes, fantasies, chaconnes, passacailles, rondeaux, tombeaux, dances and character pieces with descriptive titles.  Les Voix humaines comes into this latter category and it epitomizes the soulful tones of the bass viol showing Marais in his most expressive and moving vein, as the title suggests, evoking the emotive sounds of the human voice.

French composer and viol player, Jacques Morel studied with Marin Marais and his 1er livre de pièces de violle was dedicated to his esteemed teacher. The Chaconne en Trio for flute, bass viol and continuo contained in this book features melodic variations woven over a four-bar bass line. Like many of Marais’ French contemporaries who wrote for the bass viol, Morel’s compositions show the idiomatic influences of Marais, adopting the master’s notations for bowings and ornamentation.

François Couperin known as le Grand, was one of the great exponents of the French style of composition and performance in the 17th century.  His most famous book, L’art de Toucher le Clavecin published in 1716, contains suggestions for fingerings, touch, ornamentation and other features of keyboard technique. Couperin’s four volumes of harpsichord music, published in Paris in 1713, 1717, 1722 and 1730, contain over 230 individual pieces which can be played on solo harpsichord or performed as small chamber works. These pieces were not grouped into suites, as was the common practice, but ordres which were Couperin’s own version of suites containing traditional dances as well as descriptive pieces. The first and last pieces in an ordre were of the same tonality, but the middle pieces could be in other closely related tonalities. Many of Couperin’s keyboard pieces have evocative, picturesque titles and express a mood through key choices, adventurous harmonies and (resolved) discords. They have been likened to miniature tone poems and were much admired by J S Bach.

In addition to his affiliation to French composition and performance, Couperin was also a curious follower of the Italian style, long rejected by his predecessors, including the influential Lully. In his publications of the early 1720s he offered a wide variety of ways in which the French and Italian styles might be united. One of these publications was the Concerts Royaux for one to three players. The Concert No 4 played in today’s program is a group of dances collected together to make a suite. This is in contrast to the Italian concept of a group of separate movements defined by contrasting affects and keys to make sonatas. The members of the French court in the 17th century spent many hours dancing and were led by the example of their King Louis XIV who was universally praised as a great dancer. His favourite dance was said to be the courante. This Concert features two: one in the restrained more elegant style of the French courante and the other in the livelier Italian mode.

J S Bach’s son Carl Phillip Emanuel was employed at Frederick the Great of Prussia’s court, alongside other fine musicians such as Quantz and Graun. He composed in the new fashionable style, which became known as the stile gallant. His compositions were some of the first steps in to a new Classical style that would later in the 18th century be so wonderfully expressed by Haydn and Mozart.  In 1768 C P E Bach succeeded his godfather Georg Philipp Telemann as Capellmeister at Hamburg, and in his new office began to turn his attention more towards church music.

Around the mid 18th century, the viola da gamba, an instrument that had occupied a prominent place in musical history since the renaissance, was falling into decline.  The end of the 17th century, when the instrument was at the height of its popularity in France, saw the ascendancy of the violin family, a scenario that was the focal point of passionate and well-documented disputes in Europe.

C P E Bach’s three sonatas were written for the virtuoso gamba player Ludwig

Christian Hesse  who, like C P E Bach, was in the employment of Frederick the Great in Berlin.  These works are among the last significant repertoire for the instrument in a period of transition from the baroque, during the development and evolution of the classical style.

Telemann also experimented with the new Galante style with its emphasis on melody and quixotic changes of expression.  This is demonstrated in his collection of 12 Sonatas known as Sonate Metodiche.   In these Telemann supplies very useful and beautiful examples of how to decorate and embellish slow movements in a sonata and they help unlock the secrets of performing music that on the page seems so unadorned.

Telemann’s trio sonata brings together two very expressive instruments, the voice flute and the viola da gamba, in an elegant conversation through four movements supported by a bass line that creates a commentary and acts as the punctuation in this musical story.