- Nachtklang – and 1st Prize!!! 18 September, 2018
On Saturday the 15th September I played as one of three acts at the Nachtklang event at the Musikfest Erzgebirge. The event invites crossover acts between baroque music and music from other cultures. I spent rather a large proportion of the summer arranging 30 minutes of music from styles including baroque, tango, japanese koto and heavy metal. It was a pleasure to finally perform the result of this work. The event happened in a rather flashy factory for Mühle shaving equipment. The other acts were a trio with two keyed-violins and guitar playing Bach arrangements, together with a jazz quintet using Bach cantata arias as a basis for their compositions. I found both of these acts were incredibly refreshing and tastefully done.
One gimmick to the evening was that the public got to vote on who they though most deserved to win a recording with Deutschlandfunk Kultur radio. And, well, they chose me which is very flattering but I think it could have easily also gone to one of the other acts, which were all so different from each other.
The concert will be broadcast on Deutschlandfunk Kultur Radio this Friday, 21st September at 20:03pm central european time, and is accessible via the following link:
- Roll up! Roll up! Circus in Town!!! 7 September, 2018
I’m having a whale of a time with La Folia Barockorchester and the circus in Annaberg-Buchholz. It’s part of the Musikfest Erzgebirge and the show will run for a few days in a beautiful wooden historical mirror tent. Thankfully much of this performance has been immortalised in a YouTube video which you can find below. I feel very inspired by the circus artists as well as the other musicians, and best of all I got to arrange Metallica’s One for viola da gamba solo and baroque orchestra accompaniment. This happens right at the end of the YouTube video and accompanies a spectacular display of Handstanding from Florian Zumkehr.
(click through to real YouTube website)
- New Fantasticus Release 31 August, 2018
My ensemble, Fantasticus, has today released a brand new recording of Louis Gabriel Guillemain’s Op.12 Quartets. The pieces are written for Baroque Flute, Violin, Viola da gamba and Harpsichord. For this recording we enlisted the help of traverso-superhero Wilbert Hazelzet and, as can be expected, it was an absolute pleasure to work with him. Check out some samples of the recording in this short video, or get yourself a full copy from the Resonus website.
- Heading to Mallorca 20 July, 2018
Tomorrow I’m performing a solo concert on the island of Mallorca. I’ll be playing works for viola da gamba by Telemann, Abel and Marais.
It’s always a challenge to play a solo concert and the culmination of many hours of work. I decided to organise a last minute try-out concert to help my preparations. But because it was SOOO last minute, all I could manage was to perform in our neighbourhood playground and invite the entire street. Surprisingly, it was a wonderful evening as you can see in the photo! Many people turned up and stayed for the whole hour 😁
- Concerto Magazine Review 20 July, 2018
The March edition of the German early music magazine, concerto, carried several reviews of recent Telemann recordings. There were kind words for my Telemann Fantasias:
Smith betont die klassiche Noblesse der kompositionen under findet den dazu passenden eleganten Ton.
Smith emphasizes the classical nobility of the compositions and finds the appropriate elegant tone.
- Concert Broadcast BBC Radio 3 8 January, 2018
On the 31st December, BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show broadcast a solo concert of Telemann and Abel that I played at the Little Missenden Festival in October. You can listen back to the broadcast for the next month here:
- Telemann Fantasias in Top Ten CDs of 2017! 8 January, 2018
Very happy to have made it into Europadisc’s top ten of 2017. Visit their page here:
- 4 sterren in Trouw 9 December, 2017
Mooi recensie in Trouw op 8 december 2017:
Smith is consciëntieus en paart zijn fijn uitgewerkte handvaardigheid aan een speelse toon, zo nu en dan zwiert hij over de snaren. Heel precies bepaalt hij de hoeveelheid licht die hij doorlaat in Telemanns muziek, maar het licht dát schijnt is altijd helder en kent rijke kleurschakeringen.
(Smith is conscientious and combines his finely worked-out craftsmanship with a playful tone, now and then gliding over the strings. He precisely determines the amount of light he allows into Telemann’s music, and the light that shines is always clear with rich shades of colour.)
- Podium Witteman 19 November 14 November, 2017
Kijk naar Podium Witteman op 19 november. Ton Koopman ontvangt zijn Edison Prijs, en samen met countertenor Maarten Engeltjes spelen wij Buxtehudes prachtige en vrolijke Jubilate Domino! Watch again here:
- Gramophone and BBC Reviews 14 November, 2017
Two great Telemann reviews in from Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine!
BBC gave a double 5-star review, for Performance and Recording!
Robert Smith is not the first in the field with his recording, but the expressive warmth … feeling for rhetoric and accomplished technique deserve to win many friends.
And Lindsay Kemp at Gramophone commented:
Smith navigates Telemann’s fleeting moods with assurance and focus – whether in the concentrated harmonies of a grave slow movement or in the sprightly dancelike release of an allegro finale – and finds tellingly timed rhetorical space between phrases.