James’ Brand New Blog

Lord, I was born a gamba man

- September 17th, 2012

viola da gamba

viola da gamba 2

Viola da gambas images, courtesy of Western’s Don Wright music faculty

JBNBlog always applauds the good works in the London music world & here’s a classy tale.

Marie Cyr has donated two viola da gambas (violas da gamba?) and students in Western’s Don Wright music faculty early music studio will be playing them. Read on in the media release from the Wright faculty’s ace Janis Wallace . . . . good news &  I mean that seriously as I sing Lord I was born a gamba man etc.

Didn’t Kenny Rogers and the Sopranos crew team on a cool LP Da Gamba?

Over to Janis . . .

 

For Immediate Release

Students benefit from instrument donation

Well-known musicologist Mary Cyr donated two viola da gambas to the Don Wright Faculty of Music because she wanted them to be played. Students in the Early Music Studio at Western University will use these instruments to perform Renaissance and Baroque repertoire.

The instruments, assessed at $33,000, are replicas of 15th-century viola da gambas. One is a seven-string, French-style bass viol built by Reinhard Ossenbrummer on a model of the Collichon instrument in Geneva. A fleur-de-lys decorates the top. The other is a six-string lyra-style bass viol created by Peter Tourin after an instrument by Henry Jaye. A rose and extensive purfling decorate the top and back.

“As students engage in the Early Music Studio, playing on period instruments is critical from an stylistic perspective. We are most appreciative of this gift and know that students’ education in early music will be enhanced through such experiences,” said Betty Anne Younker, Dean of Music.

The Faculty’s Early Music Studio performs music from the 16th to 18th centuries. Playing on instruments for which the music was composed increases their understanding of technique and interpretation of the period.

Cyr studied baroque cello in Amsterdam with Anner Bylsma and viola da gamba in Brussels with Wieland Kuijken. As well as her concert and recording career, she taught at McGill University and the University of Guelph and wrote several books on early instruments and musicology.

 

The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada

Cyr, Mary

Mary Cyr. Gambist, teacher, musicologist, b Fargo, N Dak, 20 Aug 1946, naturalized Canadian 1991; BA music (California, Berkeley) 1968, MA musicology (California, Berkeley) 1970, PH D (California, Berkeley) 1975. She studied baroque cello in Amsterdam with Anner Bylsma and viola da gamba in Brussels with Wieland Kuijken. She then embarked on a concert career as cellist and gambist with various US and Canadian orchestras and chamber ensembles. After teaching (1969-76) at the University of California in Berkeley, she joined the Faculty of Music of McGill University where she headed the areas of musicology (1978-82, 1983-6) and early music (1984-9); in 1991 she was appointed director of graduate studies (dept of theory).

In 1977 she played vielle and conducted at a concert dedicated to music and poetry by Guillaume de Machaut during a meeting of the International Musicological Society in Berkeley. She and the harpsichordist John Grew have given numerous recitals and recorded three Sonatas by Bach (1979, McGill University Records 78007). Cyr has also recorded Loves Pashion and Other Ayres for Lyra Violl (McGill University Records 82015). In 1988 she conducted the Collegium Musicum of McGill’s Faculty of Music in a recording of works by Buxtehude with the countertenor Allan Fast (McGill University Records 750031-2-CD). She has given recitals in Canada, the USA, Yugoslavia (1980), New Zealand (1989) and Australia (1989). She made her New York debut at Carnegie Hall in 1980 and her London debut at Wigmore Hall in 1983. She has lectured in Canada, the USA, New Zealand and Australia, mostly on viola da gamba technique and repertoire, and the music of Rameau. She has contributed to the New Grove Dictionary.

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