Unearthly, gentle, hovering – the tone of a gamba has a special sound quality. The string instrument experienced its heyday in the Renaissance and early Baroque, and at that time gamba ensembles were particularly appreciated for their homogeneous sound. Thanks to the early music movement, many instrumentalists have rediscovered the gamba on their own. One of them is cellist Laurence Dreyfus, who comes from a Boston family of musicians and in 1994 founded the gamba consort Phantasm; within a very short time, they gained recognition around the world. Together with Concerto Melante, the ensemble in which members of the Berliner Philharmoniker play on historical instruments, and five vocal soloists, they have created a programme full of the meditative power of suggestion.
Appropriate for the Lent period before Easter, you can hear Dietrich Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu nostri, a cycle of seven passion cantatas, in each of which a wounded part of the body of the crucified Christ is sung about allegorically, from the feet to knees, hands, side, breast, heart, to the face. The seven cantatas all have the same formal structure and are characterised by an expressive tonal language. They are a typical example of Protestant music for edification, through which listeners are to grapple in a contemplative manner with the suffering of Christ. The other works on the concert programme also invite to self-contemplation and reflection: pieces for gamba ensemble by composers in the 16th and 17th centuries from England, which at the time was leading in this type of music.