NEW CD "Mo iikai"

Our new CD "Mo iikai" is finished and in production. It will be released in Japan, just in time for our upcoming Japanese Tour in early February 2015. 

Here is a short sampler:

"- A L I V E -"
The new CD by DUO SWEET 17




For reviews of this CD see "PRESS" and "QUOTES AND COMMENTS":

Price : 20 Euros (Including postage and shipping anywhere in the world).


Duo Sweet 17 -ALIVE-

Review (Dr. Igor )

"Although this listing already contains a number of high quality recordings demonstrating top levels of artistry and virtuosity, I was particularly happy to review this CD, as it brings this rare feel of chamber intimacy through very clean, yet also very musical playing - a feat that is often most difficult to achieve. 

This recording is also unique in the sense that all pieces are period, yet rearranged in some way to mimic the period style. The two Ariosti sonatas were most likely not composed for the Viennese bass, and the Sperger sonata (originally intended for Viennese bass) does not feature Viola d'Amore in the original. Yet, the overall effect is very honest, enlightening and pleasing - in the aesthetic way that I envision would have been truly enjoyed in the 18th century. 

The venue that produced the CD is called "Rough Records", implying that the straight recording takes that keep the spirit of the interpretation are preferred to those full of computer edits, that are all too common in modern productions. Yet I believe a better term would be "Nice Records" as the effect is anything but "rough". Moreover, the overall production and sound quality are so good that I would openly recommend this recording to the general music public in need of relaxed listening - the exact type for which the featured compositions were conceived at the period. This CD is perfectly suitable for all commercial broadcasts, but also for playing in public spaces where some calm may be desired. 

 To conclude, this is an excellent recording featuring a very transparent sound of both instruments at its best. Viola d'Amore color may on occasion be perceived as even brighter of the regular viola, and the bass in Ariosti appears to have been played often in the 8 foot range that can not overpower the viola d'amore timbre. Korneel and Haruko play superbly here, and not only to satisfy some imaginary "period" standard, but for us today to enjoy. Bravo and Congratulations!" 

Liner Notes 

ATTILIO ARIOSTI (1666 – 1740)

A native from Bologna, Ariosti was actually a monk but he became a court composer at several courts in Italy (the duchy of Mantua, a.o.) and abroad (Berlin, Vienna). He travelled to London where he wrote operas, but his favorite instrument was the Viola d’Amore and he was one of the instrument’s foremost virtuoso players. He even played the instrument in the entr’acte music of Handel’s opera “Almadigi” in London in 1716.

Besides operas, he wrote cantatas and instrumental works, amongst others a series of sonatas for Viola d’Amore and basso continuo. Handwritten copies of these were found in Stockholm, so now they are known as the “Stockholm sonatas”, although Ariosti himself never went there.

The basso continuo is played here on the Viennese bass, which is of course an anachronism. But the instrument seems to fit the music and the Viola d’Amore really well, especially in those pieces that share the D major tuning of their open strings. Indeed, the Viola d’Amore can be used in a great number of different tunings although the D major variant is considered to be a kind of standard tuning.

Still, we chose to record two sonatas in d minor and in b minor in an attempt to get away from the ubiquitous D major tonality that is often associated with both the Viola d’Amore and the Viennese Violone.


Born in the year of Bach’s death, Johann Matthias Sperger was a very important classical bass virtuoso and composer. His early training in organ playing and composition probably helps to explain the extent of his oeuvre, which includes music for horn and trumpet, amongst others.

Most of the double bass concertos of the classical period are actually Sperger’s work, and when we bass players boast of the almost 40 concertos that have survived from the Viennese classical period, we rarely realize that Sperger wrote half of them.

Johann Matthias had a varied career, as did most of the musicians back then. He worked at the courts of Kohfidisch and Ludwigslust, but also travelled as far as Italy.

It’s thanks to his widow, who took care of his music collection, that we now know his works, but also the compositions for double bass of Vanhal, Dittersdorf and Hoffmeister. Without her, these staples of the double bass repertoire would never have been known.

Sperger was a great virtuoso, and he sought to push the limits of the instrument by using the highest positions extensively. Many of his pieces are impossible to play in modern tuning, and more and more players realize that this music not only deserves the effort needed to master the original Viennese tuning in thirds and fourths, but also that a proper set-up with gut strings and frets and an appropriate bow will bring out much more of the unique sound of this very special instrument.

Apart from that, Viennese playing technique differed in many subtle points from modern technique. The articulations are very close to baroque style and phrases that modern players would instinctively try to “sing”, using lots of vibrato and a sustained sound (the “legato-vibrato syndrome”) were probably much closer to a speaking style. It is a style that requires a very different approach, far removed from the overly romantic way of playing that unfortunately still seems to be a sort of internationally accepted standard…


Recording philosophy

These recordings were made at the Fiocco Hall of the Brussels National Opera De Munt / La Monnaie.

We think that “perfection” is an overrated concept. To us spontaneity, poetry and passion are far more valuable when it comes to performing and recording, and the human dimension - real music played by real people - should never be absent.

For this reason we wanted to recreate the feeling of a true live performance. These are essentially live studio recordings in which we have tried to preserve both the fragility and the excitement of the music, its inner logic and drive.

These days, making a CD is within everybody's reach. Technically, nothing seems to be impossible and very often the process of polishing, editing and correcting the recording robs the music of its meaning and its soul. Sometimes whole passages are pasted together note for note. What we call "high-fidelity" often doesn't contain much fidelity to the musical experience at all. The more one tries to make the "perfect" record, the more one loses the essence of what making music is all about.

The way we work is different. We don't edit out parasite noises of creaking floorboards, fingers on gut strings, strings on fingerboards, bow hair on strings, breathing, or the occasional little accident. We don't try to correct every note that isn't quite perfect. No plastic surgery here.

It’s no coincidence that we called our label “Rough Records”. We want to make recordings that give you the feeling you are actually there, in the hall, with us. We want to make you, the listener, part of the experience and draw you into our world. We want to share with you these moments of unedited beauty, so that you can really imagine being present at an evening concert somewhere in a palace or a salon, a few hundred years ago.

So sit back, relax, close your eyes and enter the world of real music. Music that is... Alive.

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