Robert Smith
Event 10
Saturday 21st October, 4:30pm 
Little Missenden Church

Newly discovered works from Telemann
Georg PhilippTelemann
Fantasia No. 1 in C minor TWV 40:26
Fantasia No. 6 in G major TWV 40:31
Fantasia No. 9 in C major TWV 40:34
Carl Friedrich Abel
Suite in D
Georg PhilippTelemann
Fantasia No. 10 in E major TWV 40:35
Fantasia No. 11 in D minor TWV 40:36
Jemnye - from The Manchester Lyra-Viol Book

This is an archived event from the 2017 Programme.

Robert Smith viola da gamba


This recital was recorded live by BBC Radio 3 and broadcast on The Early Music Show on Sunday 31 December, 2017




In late 2015, the unexpected discovery of 12 fantasias for solo viola da gamba by Telemann was announced to a grateful music world. Believed lost since they were sent for publication in 1735, they’ve turned up right on time for performance during the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death.

Robert Smith - the gamba player with Fantasticus - has been anxious to share his excitement with audiences ever since they re-emerged. When he suggested that he perform some of them as an aperitif before our evening concert, we leapt at the opportunity. The fantasias take in a plethora of forms both old and new and have been described as ‘a cornucopia of musical ideas’ demonstrating Telemann’s ‘extraordinary knowledge of the instrument’s capabilities’.

Abel was a contemporary of Telemann’s and spent most of his musical life in London. While primarily aiming to make money here in public concerts with his business partner, JC Bach, he continued to write chamber works for more intimate performance. Abel was one of the last great masters of the gamba - an instrument he’d played since childhood - and in this suite we see his technical mastery at the service of his deeper and more introspective thoughts.

Jemnye is a vivid and virtuosic piece. It’s taken from a collection of largely anonymous English seventeenth century music for the lyra-viol (a small bass viol popular during that period) published as The Manchester Lyra-Viol Book.

For Robert's detailed appraisal of the music he will play, click here


Please note that the recital will last for approximately 60 minutes 

Robert Smith is an English baroque cellist and viola da gambist, who lives in Amsterdam. His playing has been described by The Strad as, "Intensely expressive, highly dramatic."

He studied viola da gamba with Mieneke van der Velden (Amsterdam) and Paolo Pandolfo (Basel), and baroque cello with Wouter Möller, Jaap ter Linden and Viola da Hoog. In 2012 he won the Bach-Abel Viola da Gamba Competition in Köthen, taking the 1st Prize, Audience Prize and Special Prize. His performance of a heavy-metal transcription was especially noted.

Robert was principal cellist for the European Union Baroque Orchestra in 2005/6 and he now plays with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, the ensemble Fantasticus, and many others. In 2014 Robert released his first solo recording of music for viola da gamba, 'Tickle the Minikin'. It received enthusiastic reviews and was BBC Music Magazine's Instrumental Choice in August 2014. Earlier this year, Robert released 'The Excellency of Hand', a recording of virtuoso English viol duos with his former teacher, Paolo Pandolfo.

Robert has recently released one of the first recordings of the newly discovered Telemann Fantasias which he plays during this recital. Click here to go to Resonus Classics for more details or to purchase the recording.


Telemann Fantasias for Viola da Gamba


Robert Plays Jemmye