Who are we?
We are the Castello Consort, an ensemble with a passion for music from the renaissance and early baroque periods. Our musicians are constantly exploring an expressive, vocal sound quality and harmonious interplay.
The core of our ensemble is formed by Elise (violin), Matthijs (sackbut) and Anne-Linde (cello, bass violin & viola da gamba). This core is expanded with fantastic colleagues for every program, depending on the repertoire.
Recently, we performed with the Castello Consort at the foremost international festivals, including the Händel-Festspiele in Göttingen (DE), the Beverley Early Music Festival (UK), the Festival d'Ambronay (FR), the Festival Barocco è il Mondo (IT), the BRQ Festival (fringe) in Vantaa (FI) and in the Fabulous Fringe series of the Utrecht Early Music Festival (NL). Furthermore, our ensemble featured in prominent concert series in the Netherlands, such as Kasteelconcerten, Musica Antica da Camera, Prelude Klassiek and InCanto. Next season you can hear us in the Orgelpark Amsterdam, and in concert series in Bennebroek, 't Woudt and more!
How our project started
Research is very important for the performance of early music. Sources from the 16th and 17th century give a lot of information about articulation, phrasing, temperaments, ornamentation and even how musicians should behave on stage!
Besides that, we gain a lot of information and inspiration from playing on historical instruments, or copies of historical instruments. That is also how our organ project started a few years ago.
Nowadays, the organ has become a bit of a background-instrument in Early Music. In most of the 'historically informed' early music concerts, small chest organs are used. These are usually ingenious and well-built instruments. However, they were not invented until the twentieth century, so in that respect they have nothing to do with early music.
A few years ago we performed with an original 16th century organ in Oosthuizen (NL). This was a huge eye-opener! The organ provided a real base for the ensemble and with the many different registers it gave different colors to the ensemble and the music.
After talking with colleagues, we also realized that there are many musicians and concertseries which are interested in an organ especially for 16th and 17th century music.
What we will do
In order to bring this sound to different locations, we started thinking together with ‘Orgelmakerij Reil’ how we could create a transportable organ without making compromises in sound quality.
The organ can be transported in two parts and will fit in any standard van.
Besides the transportability, which is necessary in today’s performance practice, it is a historically accurate reproduction and has the following characteristics:
7 complete organ stops (ripieno from 8' to 1'), including special sounds, like the Regali and the characteristic Italian Voce Umana.
- The organ will be tuned at high pitch (a’=466Hz), and in meantone temperament. Meantone temperament was the most popular tuning from the 16th until 18th century. Harmonies in this meantone temperament sound very much in tune, because the system is based on pure thirds.
- The disadvantage of meantone is that not all chords can be played: for example, an a-flat is a very different note than a g-sharp. But ingenious as they where, many keyboard instruments had split black keys, so both notes could be played in tune. Our organ contains split keys for E-flat/D-sharp and G-sharp/A-flat
- Historical organs received their wind from manual bellows, instead of a noisy electric wind motor. Besides being more silent, the bellows also result in a more natural sound. The organ is really breathing... For rehearsals, there will be an optional external wind motor.
- Metal organ pipes always were the standard in organs, and have more power to support ensembles, especially in church acoustics. Most of the pipes in our organ will therefore be made of metal.
- A short octave in the bass notes of the organ. Some of the rarely used notes (the lowest C#, Eb, F# and G#) were removed in early organs, to save space (and money). Music was composed for such keyboards, and is often even only possible to perform with a short octave.
The project is nearly complete...
At the moment they are working very hard in Reil’s workshop and the organ is nearly finished. Because of several generous funds and sponsors, most of the costs are covered. But for the last part we would like to ask your help!
Will you help us finish this project succesfully?