About the Ensemble
The Little Light Consort was founded in 2011 by Soma Salat-Zakariás. His goal, to work on the repertoire of the viol consort and perform with a permanent group of people, has brought Leonardo Bortolotto, Christoph Prendl and Ryosuke Sakamoto together as an ensemble. They all met during their studies at the “Schola Cantorum Basiliensis” in Basel (Switzerland). All viol players graduated in the class of Paolo Pandolfo, drawing their musical perception from a common source. Ryosuke Sakamoto joined the ensemble as a lute player, nevertheless he is a viol player as well. Thus, the formation has at its disposal a great variety of people, having a grounded musical understanding and profound sense of the viol consort's unique music, as well as skills for playing the different sizes of the instruments, the "consort-set" of viols. The members of the group have worked together since 2008, looking for a common form of expression and developing their comprehension of the music of the viol consort and its literature. In this process during their studies, they received valuable insight for musical style, taste, composition and technique from important masters, such as Anthony Rooley, Dominique Vellard, Evelyn Tubb, Paolo Pandolfo, Randall Cook and Rebeka Rusò. The ensemble plays regularly together and performs concerts on different programs based on the viol consort literature of the 16th & 17th centuries .
In April 2012, they performed in Transylvania (Romania) at the festival "Szent György Napok 2012". In 2013 the ensemble played at the concert series "Art et Léonard", "mimiko" and "Konzerte Évilard" at Évilard/Leubringen as well as at private concerts of the "Musik Akademie Basel". Further Projects and concerts are planned for 2014.
The "Viol Consort" is a set of instruments with different sized Violas da Gamba. Ideally each instrument of this kind is proportionally fitted to the other. "Your best provision, (and most compleat) will be, a good Chest of Viols; six, in number; viz. 2 Baßes, 2 Tenors and 2 Trebles: all truly, and proportionally suited," writes Thomas Mace in 1676. The "Viol Consort" was probably in use as soon as the viol - with its earlier form - became popular in Europe at the end of the 15th century. Like many other instruments of the era, the viol was built in different sizes in order to enable the performance of a polyphonic composition. The early gamba consort is clearly described in a number of theoretical documents which appeared throughout the 16th and early 17th centuries. "Ma perche questo instrumento si sona di doi maniere, overo in concerto de Viole, overo contrapuntando con un altro" - writes Diego Ortiz in 1553. More than hundred years later, in one of the most important reflections in English music history upon the Viol, Thomas Mace appears rather nostalgic in praising the practice of consort music: "Know, that in my younger time, we had Musick [Consort] most excellently choice and most eminently rare; both for its excellency in composition, rare fancy, and sprightly Ayre; as also for its proper and fit performances [...]. And lest it should be quite forgot, for want of sober times; I will set down [...] the manner of such Musick [Consort] as I make mention of, as also the nature of it. We had for our grave Musick, Fancies of 3,4,5 and 6 Parts to the Organ; interpos'd (now and then) with some Pavins, Allmaines, solemn and sweet delightful Ayres; all which were (as it were) so many pathettical stories, rhetorical and sublime discourses; subtil and accute argumentations; so suitable and agreeing to the inward, secret and intellectual faculties of the Soul and Mind; that to set them forth according to their true praise, there are no words sufficient in language; yet what I can best speak of them, shall be only to say, that they have been to my self (and many others) as divine raptures, powerfully captivating all our unruly faculties and affections and disposing us to solidity, gravity and a good temper, making us capable of Heavenly and Divine Influences."
As the meaning of the word "consort" is "accompany" in English, one might associate the consort of viols with accompanying or supporting vocal parts in music. This practice was indeed very common at the time consorts of instruments were in use. The viol consort also has an important function in instrumental music, a large volume of literature written especially by English composers having survived. "Viol Consort" was widely practiced and very fashionable in many royal courts and wealthy family-circles. Playing consort music for one's own delight was something very eminent, furthermore, having a "chest of viols" often served as an emblem or sign of wealth and affluence.