A FAMILY REUNION
Through the vicissitudes of history ruthlessly torn assunder, these brethren thus constrained to lead their separate lives in distant corners of the globe, the lost sheep of this viol family, verily overcoming unseeming odds, have managed after several hundred years to find each other, still alive, in the hallowed halls of the Orpheon Foundation. With the recent acquisition (June, 2011) of the bass viol in festoon-form in London, the Family is now complete, safe and "sound". The complete consort in the painting will be heard again here:
Family portrait, Anno 1645
Albert Freyse: The Court of August the Younger, Duke of Braunschweig (1579-1666)
The Viola da Gamba Consort at Court
Viols of at least three different shapes are employed simultaneously in this consort! The three viols in the foreground - a treble, a bass (and perhapsalso the large tenor, to the right of the treble, facing away from us) - are in the festoon shape with flame holes and a rosette. The viol visible on the right has the classical form. The great bass viol or violone in G has sloping shoulders but f-holes like the violin-family. This North-German painting dates from around 1640, in the middle of the Thirty-Years' War.
Bass viola da gamba in festoon form
The new acquisition, not yet restored: Bass viola da gamba in festoon form
The treble member of the consort shows the so-called festoon form.
The two treble violas da gamba in festoon form.
Dendrochronology has proven that the wood from the two tops came from the same tree!
This lady is playing a bass viol with sloping shoulders, rosette and a more typical form. Very similar to this
viola da gamba by Nikolaus Leidolff
The man is playing a violone in G with slight corners and f-holes The bass viola da gamba by Paul Alletsee, Munich
a very large instrument, with f-holes
The violone in G from Milano, ca. 1700
An even larger viol, tuned in G
The lady is playing an octagonal spinet based on the Italian models
Copy after the "Queen Elizabeth's Spinet"
Our Italian spinet resembles closely that keyboard instrumnet