60 Seconds With…David Bates

Today we have the next installation of our feature ’60 Seconds with…’! Over  the coming weeks we will be posting quick and quirky interviews with the people behind the music at the Winter Festival. There’s no hard and fast rule with what we ask – most questions come from members of the team – though if you’d like to contribute, leave your questions in the comments section. Enjoy!

This week, La Nuova Musica director David Bates discusses pitch, trombones and marvellous madrigals!

Baroque pitch or modern pitch?
For Monteverdi’s vocal music, I love sound of ‘high pitch’, that is A=466. It adds a great deal to the dramatic quality of the music – especially where the madrigals of book seven and eight use voices and instruments as equals. The sopranos love this pitch – it really shows them off at their best!

Conducting or Singing?
BOTH! I love to direct my wonderful colleagues in La Nuova Musica. I love to play and sing with like-minded passionate and amazingly talented musicians.

Monteverdi: Madrigals or Vespers?
If push comes to shove I would have to plump for the Madrigals solely on the basis of volume.  The 1610 publication is truly ground breaking, fusing the old cantus firmus with new concerti and madrigal-esque style, but only lasts 2.5 hours (including the Missa in Illo Tempore) the Madrigals go on for days!!….

Why did you want to take part in the Winter Festival?
What a fabulous idea for an English festival to base their whole programme on the nine books of Monteverdi madrigals. With a keen interest in early 17th century vocal performance practice such a festival programme is too enticing to ignore.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I was a trombone player at school.  At first I wanted to play in the pit orchestras of West End Theatres, then wanted to play in LSO, and then wanted to conduct LSO!! All pretty fanciful, really! I am told by my Mother that I used to pretend to conduct to the radio with my Grandpa when I was very little.

Where’s your favourite place in London?
I adore the stretch between Tower Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge – Shakespeare’s Globe, The Temple, St Paul’s Cathedral, Borough Market etc. etc.  I am lucky enough to live in the heart of this area – Bermondsey.

What’s the most played track from your MP3 player/CD collection?
This changes regularly – but at the moment it’s the first edits of a disc LNM recorded in the summer – Il Pastor Fido 1712 G F Handel – presently unrecorded!!!

What would you most like your audiences to take away from your performances?
We in La Nuova Musica adore singing and playing this wonderful music.  We hope that our enthusiasm, commitment, expertise and sheer joy come across loud and clear to our audience so that they feel compelled to explore further this repertoire with us and our fellow musicians.

See La Nuova Musica and David Bates in action in From Renaissance to Baroque on
Monday 13 December at 7.00pm

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