Season 2006/07
Spalding, Lincolnshire, England

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7 October 2006

18 November 2006

27 January 2007

3 March 2007

Duo Dorado
De Borah
Chaconne Brass

The Venues
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Duo Dorado

Hazel Brooks
(violin) and

David Pollock (harpsichord)


Hazel Brooks read languages at Clare College, Cambridge. After graduation she studied the violin in Leipzig, and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she received
a scholarship to study with Micaela Comberti. During this time Hazel won many prizes and awards, and was a finalist in international competitions in York and Antwerp.

As a specialist in baroque and classical violin, she works principally as a recitalist although she also plays with leading period-instrument orchestras. Recital venues have included the South Bank Centre in London and the Barcelona Early Music Festival, and she has released a recital CD with harpsichordist David Pollock. Her wide interests in medieval music of many countries is reflected in her being in demand as a player of the vielle - a stringed instrument used by troubadours throughout Europe during that period.

Hazel is also a guest professor of Early Music at the Guildhall School of Music.


David Pollock specialised in the harpsichord at the Royal College of Music and Royal Academy where he won the Croft Early Music first prize. Since then he has appeared as harpsichord recitalist at leading venues throughout the country including London's South Bank and at St David's Hall in Cardiff. He has appeared at international festivals in Edinburgh and Brighton, and has recently performed the complete harpsichord concertos of J.S.Bach.

As concerto soloist and as continuo player, David has performed with many prominent players in the period-instrument field and has also promoted and performed new repertoire for the instrument by contemporary composers.

David has released two CDs, The French Harpsichordist and O Mistris Mine - both on the London Independent Records label.


Duo Dorado perform on period instruments of the kind that would have been known to the composers themselves. Period instruments vary in many important details from their modern counterparts. Both artists have spent time studying the necessary specialised playing techniques of the baroque style.

Some of the principal characteristics of a period violin are gut strings, an arched and pointed baroque-style bow, a less angled neck on the instrument with (frequently) no chin rest. Also, a lighter barring and sound-post, and a flatter bridge are also employed. All these aspects of the instrumental design tend to create a sweeter sound than is often found on a modern violin, and it is one which blends well with the harpsichord. Hazel's violin is an original eighteenth century instrument made by the Viennese maker Joannes Georgius Thir.

David's harpsichord is a double-manual instrument in the French style, made by Anne and Ian Tucker in 1999. It is a replica of the Ruckers-Hemsch harpsichord of 1763 displayed in the Cobbe Collection at Hatchlands Park. It is identical down to the individual brush strokes of the painting.

The Ruckers family of Antwerp is considered to be one of the greatest of all harpsichord makers. The reputation of their instruments was so fine that they received orders from European monarchs - including Charles I, whose own instrument bore decorations by Rubens. This make of harpsichord is particularly renowned for its rich and beautiful sound. The instrument is strung in iron and brass, with free-range turkey quills.


Sonata in F major, op.5 no.10 Archangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
Sonata in A major RV 758 Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Sonata in G major K2 (Presto); Sonata In G Minor K12 (Presto) - for harpsichord Dominico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
Sonata no. 4 in C minor BWV 1017 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Medley of Dances and Theatre tunes Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
La Marche des Scythes Pancrace Royer (1705-1755) from Pieces de Clavecin 1746 - for harpsichord
Sonata in D George F. Handel (1685-1759)

Sonata in F major, op.5 no.10 Archangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
Preludio; Allemande; Sarabanda; Gavotte; Giga
In Italy, by the middle of the seventeenth century, the town of Bologna had become an extremely important centre for instrumental music-making. This was centred largely on the basilica of San Petronio where the famous violinist Torelli (1658-1709) was a particularly prominent figure. Though he spent the largest part of his life in Rome, Archangelo Corelli also studied in Bologna around this time, though records show that some felt him to have been a curious character. While utterly respected for his musicianship, discipline and beautiful evenness of bowing, it is also recorded that: "While he plays upon the violin, his eyes will sometimes turn as red as fire. His countenance will be distorted, and his eyeballs roll as in agony!"

Having said that, Corelli's musical reputation spread quickly, and through his subsequent teaching and performing, there developed a major school of violin playing which had a significant influence on player/composers throughout Europe. The early music of Antonio Vivaldi, for example, owed a strong debt to Corelli, and few musicians from then on escaped the dominant influence of Corelli's style.

Sonata in A major RV 758 Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Preludio; Corrente; Andante; Presto
Alongside such composers such as Marcello and Albinoni, the most famous of the Venetian violinist/composers by far was Antonio Vivaldi. Son of a leading violinist at St Mark's chapel, he was educated both for a musical career and for the priesthood. (The combination of sacred office and secular profession was not uncommon in those days.) Like his contemporaries, Vivaldi composed each work for a specific occasion and for a particular company of performers. While it would be a mistake to ignore his achievements in opera, cantata and oratorio, he is chiefly remembered today for his instrumental music.

For the greater part of his life, Vivaldi was employed at a large conservatory (or convent school) at the town of Pietá, and for the young and enthusiastic orchestra there he wrote many of his orchestral pieces and concertos. While the ultimate influence he had upon the progress of instrumental music was just as significant as Corelli's had been a generation earlier, many of Vivaldi's compositions (his later orchestral work and the numerous Sonatas for single instrument and harpsichord) allow us to enjoy music by a composer clearly revelling in that exciting transition of style between the late Baroque and new early-Classical period.

Sonata in G major K2 (Presto); Sonata In G Minor K12 (Presto) - for harpsichord Dominico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
Dominico Scarlatti was the son of Alessandro Scarlatti who was extremely important in his time - chiefly as a composer who established Naples as a major centre for Italian opera. As an eminent harpsichordist who held posts in many courts throughout Europe (including a period working at the Italian Theatre in London), Dominico is almost entirely remembered for his many hundreds of single-movement sonatas for that instrument.

In Scarlatti's music, the term 'Sonata' in not used in the 'classical' sense of that word (as in Haydn, Mozart. etc.), but it simply signified that the piece was an instrumental one. However, that does not mean that his 'Sonatas' are without form. Later Classical-period composers moulded their sonatas in a particularly formal and structured way. Scarlatti's pieces, by contrast, generally display delightfully quick-witted musical arguments into which the composer interweaves and juxtaposes a number of sharply-contrasted themes and ideas. The result is absorbing music that is full of charm and energy.

Sonata no. 4 in C minor BWV 1017 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Largo; Allegro; Adagio; Allegro
This composer, of course, needs no introduction. To many music-lovers, the six sonatas for violin and harpsichord (plus those also for cello and for flute) are already familiar pieces of great beauty. One important characteristic of most of these sonatas is the way in which almost the entire interest is focused upon the melody. This, for example, is evident in the very first Largo movement (marked 'Siciliano') in this C minor Sonata - where Bach's broad, singing violin melody is accompanied throughout by semi-quaver passage-work by the harpsichord. Another important feature of Bach's instrumental sonatas (including the unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas), is the exquisite beauty of all his slow movements. Not only does this sonata begin with the slow Siciliana, but it boasts a particularly lovely Adagio too - accompanied, this time, by simple triplets in the harpsichord part. The two additional Allegro movements are full of spirit and dance-like vitality. For those who may be unfamiliar with Bach's string Sonatas, this work is a typical (and particularly fine) introduction.

Medley of Dances and Theatre tunes Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Air; Round O; A New Ground; Hornpipe; Canary; Ground in Gamut
Bach was just ten years old when Purcell died, but unlike Bach, Purcell was born into a family of professional musicians. His father and his uncle were both musicians in the court of Charles 1st, and Henry was one of twelve children of the Chapel Royal. He spent nearly all his adult life in or around the city of Westminster with musical appointments at Whithall Palace, the Chapel Royal at St James's, and at Westminster Abbey.

Purcell wrote extensively for the church and for the theatre (his operas The Fairy Queen and Dido and Aeneas are still performed), and he composed numerous light dance tunes and miniatures for various instrumental forces. He is an important figure, not only because of the charm (and yet emotional poignancy) of much of his music, but also because he stands at a pivotal point in history - between the Renaissance composers and the Baroque era of the likes of J. S. Bach.

La Marche des Scythes Pancrace Royer (1705-1755) from Pieces de Clavecin 1746 - for harpsichord
Today, regrettably, the music of Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer is not well-known to audiences. However during his life-time he gained considerable reputation as a Parisian harpsichordist, and it is possible that he studied music with a cousin of François Couperin. He was notable for organising concerts in which he championed music by contemporary composers such as Stamitz and Pergolesi and re-introduced audiences to operas of older Italian composers such as Carissimi.

Royer's own music is largely for the stage. But in those compositions and in his Pieces de Clavecin we can hear instances of his noted predilection for fiery dotted-rhythms and ornamental scale passages. Royer was a highly professional composer with an original style who clearly deserves better recognition.

Sonata in D George F. Handel (1685-1759)
Affetuoso; Allegro; Larghetto; Allegro
Handel is another composer of the Baroque period whose sonatas for strings are numerous. His Fifteen Sonatas Op.1 include seven accompanied sonatas for flute, six for violin and two for oboe. Shortly after settling in England in his mid-20s, Handel came under the patronage of the Duke of Chandos at his glorious country house near Edgware. In this period before Handel's operatic career got under way, his duty was to compose an endless supply of instrumental music largely for social occasions.

This soirée music (into which the violin sonatas fit neatly) was required to give discreet pleasure without in any way distracting the social gathering! (A somewhat similar requirement fell later on Mozart when he was called on to compose numerous instrumental Serenades and Divertimenti - which have sweetly been termed 'music to eat by'!) But music which is not profound (and much of Handel's familiar music is,) should not be seen as insignificant. His sonatas are full of invention, imaginative and transparent part-writing, and melodies which are memorable. In all, this is music written to perfection for the instruments in hand. Enjoy!

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