Fashion is fucking weird. Seriously, what controls this shit? Sometimes there are more pragmatic reasons for something to go the way of white gloves, baggy pants, and trucker hats. Casual wear, which is basically everything you’re wearing right now (don’t fucking lie to me. I know you, motherfucker. Just look down at the shit you’re wearing for a second. See that shit? You think motherfuckers in 18-whatever-the-fuck would accept that?), came to be because personal comfort took over the idea of individuality and formality. At other times, there just seems to be no fucking reason.
The viola de gamba (viol, or gamba) was the cat’s horny fucking meow in 600-1750. It was the hot thing on the block and every motherfucker wanted a piece. I’m sure the 650 version of Justin Bieber carted around a gamba as he trolled for chicks. The viol looks like all the other stringed instruments you know, but it’s really not. Shit has a flat back, slopey shoulders, sports c holes instead f holes. Shit looks like some skinny fucker with bad posture instead of an army general with hefty kapow on the backside. This shit also has five to seven strings instead of the modern standard of four. It’s even tuned differently. This means if you were straight boss at the violin, playing this shit well would be a whole other kettle of chips. You even hold the bow from underneath in what’s called a “German” grip (which I call the “hot action” grab technique) versus the French bow grip which is over the top. This shit is a completely different fucking thing. This means motherfuckers that wrote for the gamba, like George Philipp Telemann, were generally from a different fucking time (1681 – 25 June 1767). And motherfuckers that play that shit, like Richard Boothby, are either classical hipsters trying to dawn some elitist shit to seem cool, or they’re truly fucking passionate and talented. Lucky for the both of us, Richard is the latter.
Boothby teaches the gamba in London and France. He has recorded at least 80 fucking albums. He’s worked with dudes like Elvis Costello, Alexander Goehr, and Nico Muhly. Dude is the gamba wizard and this is him showing off his shit solo on some newly discovered Telemann music. That’s right. This is new old shit! This is like finding some long lost Beatles sheet music and having Elton John play it. It’s fucking gorgeous. Boothby plays the gamba solo on this record. And, I shit you not, this should be a fucking standard amongst those who love those cello solos. It’s so fucking beautiful. Bonus: this shit makes you feel majorly fucking sophisticated as you prep your drip coffee in your sweatpants and mustard stained t-shirt. Some things go out of style. But when shit has the quality and elegance of something like this, it’s fucking timeless.