More about Duo Dorado and their amazing baroque repertoire, with Hazel Brooks on violin and David Pollock on harpsichord.
|Hazel and David
Hazel Brooks studied at Clare College, Cambridge. After graduation she went on to study the violin at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig, and the Guildhall School of Music in London, where she specialised in early music, owing much to the inspiring teaching of Micaela Comberti. Here she won the Christopher Kite Memorial Prize and the Bankers Trust Pyramid Award, and she was a finalist in the international competitions in York and Antwerp.
As a baroque violinist, Hazel now works regularly as a recitalist and in chamber ensembles. She has given solo recitals in many major venues throughout the UK as well as in Germany, Russia and Spain. She is frequently asked to lead orchestras and enjoys appearing as a concerto soloist.
Hazel also has an interest in unusual instruments and her recitals often include the viola d’amore. She is in demand as a medieval-fiddle specialist throughout Europe and America, and has released recordings with the Boston Camerata, USA (Warner Classics), duo Trobairitz (Hyperion) and Duo Dorado (CRD and Singing Space). She has also been involved in an inspiring project combining Western and Moroccan musicians. Hazel has recently been appointed as a research fellow at the University of Southampton, investigating manuscripts of violin music from seventeenth-century England.
David Pollock studied at the Royal College and Royal Academy of Music. He was inspired to take up historical performance because of a longstanding love for the music of J. S. Bach, and soon came to specialise in the harpsichord, winning the Croft Early Music First Prize.
Since then he has appeared at such venues as the Purcell Room, St John’s Smith Square, St George’s Bristol, St. David’s Hall Cardiff, and Fairfield Halls Croydon, and has performed in international music festivals in Great Britain and abroad to critical acclaim. He has established a reputation as an interpreter of the keyboard works of J. S. Bach and is in demand as a recitalist and concerto soloist. Notable projects have included the harpsichord concertos of J. S. Bach and the virginals music of William Byrd. Solo recordings include The French Harpsichord and O Mistris Myne:150 years of English virginals music (LIR), and he has also released a CD with the Parnassian Ensemble (Avie).
David is also interested in contemporary music and champions the harpsichord in this field. Many composers have written specifically for him, including Colin Hand, Robert Page and Gavin Stevens. As the collection grows, David hopes to compile a modern-day ‘Virginals Book’ which would tie together his interests in early and modern music.
Duo Dorado was formed in 1999 when Hazel and David discovered a shared passion for the baroque repertoire for obbligato harpsichord and violin. The immediate success of the duo encouraged them to go on to explore the rich repertoire for violin and basso continuo, developing interpretations which highlight how successful this music can be with no more on the bass line than a richly resonant harpsichord.
The Duo has appeared extensively across the UK and also abroad, and has been praised for its dynamic presentation of a wide spectrum of music from established classics to that which is almost completely unknown. Their recordings include music by William Croft (CRD) and by Daniel Purcell, recently released on the Chandos label. In addition to their ordinary concerts, Hazel and David are keen to promote baroque music beyond the formal setting of traditional concert halls. They enjoy performing in less usual settings including museums, schools, village halls, libraries and even a Roman villa! They also give informal recitals in private houses, which have proved very popular.
The Duo have recently released a new CD on the Chandos label of music by Daniel Purcell – thought for a long time to be Henry Purcell’s brother, but now considered to be his cousin. Hazel has been researching early English violin sonatas and this is one of a series of projects which has come out of her research. There is a page devoted to this on the website.
David and Hazel say: We perform on period instruments – originals or copies of instruments of the type which would have been known to the composers themselves. These instruments are often considerably different from their modern counterparts. In addition both of us have spent time studying early playing techniques and baroque style.
Ruckers-Hemsch – This is a double-manual French-style instrument made by Anne and Ian Tucker in 1999. It is a replica of the Ruckers-Hemsch harpsichord (1763) in the Cobbe Collection at Hatchlands Park, identical down to the individual brush-strokes of the painting. It is strung in iron and brass, with free-range turkey quills.
Grimaldi – This is a single-manual Italian-style instrument made by Claire Hammett and Mark Ransom in 1993. It is a Venetian model after Grimaldi c. 1700. It has two eight-foot registers and is strung in brass, with turkey quills.
Principal ways in which the baroque violin is different from its modern counterpart are the arched and pointed baroque-style bow, the gut strings and lack of chinrest, as well as a less angled neck. The lower baroque bridge, lower tension, and lighter barring and soundpost inside the instrument are also worth noting. This all goes to create a much sweeter sound than a modern violin, which blends very well with the harpsichord.
Baroque Violin – An original eighteenth century instrument in baroque set-up by the Viennese maker, Joannes Georgius Thir.
Renaissance violin – Copy of a sixteenth century instrument by Andrea Amati, by Nanny Hergils 2005. Strung all in gut with equal tension.
Viola D’Amore – Made by nanny Hergils 2004, after an eighteenth century Neapolitan instrument.
10th, 11th & 12th May 2013