Video: Ensemble Passacaglia Performs Chedeville



With so many great soloists in early music, one hardly notices the back-up musicians anymore. This is especially true in chamber music where players of basso continuo (bass line) are presumed to have a subservient role.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth because there are few things better than listening to a fine performance with a great continuo team. And I’m not just referring to keyboardists, but to all manner of expressive bass-line instruments—lutenists, harpists, and bowed-bass players (‘cello, viola da gamba, violone, etc.).

Here’s a video of the London-based ensemble Passacaglia (Annabel Knight, recorder, Reiko Ichise, viola da gamba, Robin Bigwood, harpsichord) performing a work by Nicolas Chedeville.

I especially love Ichise’s playing, her intense sound and facial expressions. She and the harpsichordist provide full-bodied support while lifting the music off the page and toward the audience.

(As an aside, I heard Ichise accompany a fellow viola da gambist in a masterclass several years ago. The teacher was famous in the early music world and the class was a ticketed public event. Although Ichise was in a supporting role and her colleague was the person who signed up for the masterclass, it was Ichise’s playing that caught my attention, as well as the teacher who noted, first and foremost, her fine continuo playing.)

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