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Tuesday 3rd December

Tuesday 3rd December

Today we look at our first EMS record in more depth. It's Marianna's Salon by the Pypker/Muskens Duo, a live recording of their winning performance at the inaugural Early Music Young Ensemble Competition. 

We caught up with Tinka Pypker and Anders Muskens ahead of their performance at this year's festival...

What has this year been like since winning the Early Music Competition? 
Things have been extremely busy with many projects and concerts going on, but all in a really good way! There's been a lot of travel and a lot of progress. 

Where and when did you start collaborating?
We started collaborating back in 2017 at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, where we were both studying at the time. 

What do you enjoy about collaborating together?
I really like to work with Anders because he is incredibly musical and smart, and knows so much about the music that we perform. I also like that he is not afraid to take musical risks. What also helps, is that we are good friends and can communicate our wishes and comments to each other very well.

Anders, I see you also run another group in the Netherlands (Das Neue Mannheimer Orchester)- how does that compare to your collaboration with Tinka?
Well, in fact, we also collaborate in that group as well, but of course, in a slightly different capacity since I am leading the orchestra usually from harpsichord and Tinka is usually singing some flashy opera arias. So in some ways, it's similar, but also with the input of many fantastic orchestral musicians in the mix. We'll be working together on a big project this coming February - the first modern premiere of Johann Christian Bach's opera seria Carattaco, which is an extremely exciting undertaking. 

Tinka, your work seems to take you everywhere, from singing baroque chamber music to contemporary opera- what do you enjoy about being able to perform such a wide array of music? Do you have an era of music (perhaps even a composer) that you enjoy performing the most? 
I like to experience as many different styles as possible, because I think there is something to be discovered in all these various styles and also in myself and in the way that I deal with it. I have to have a very active brain to make the switches between styles and find the idiom for each of these styles. Some style periods I like more for their beauty, and some more for their technical or musical challenge. I think I have several favorite composers for different genres. I really like Debussy’s mélodies and Schubert’s Lieder. I also really love Richard Strauss’s late romantic operas, but I also have a soft spThis season, I started at the Dutch National Opera Academy, where I am working on becoming a “singing actor”. This is a new challenge for me, because we tend to focus so much on singing and sound, and now I learn so many new things about acting. 

Your programme for this year’s festival looks so interesting! What was the inspiration behind it? 
A couple of years ago I came across Zelter’s version of “Gretchen am Spinnrade”, simply named Margarethe in Zelter’s version. Gretchen is a character in the famous novel, Faust by Goethe. Then I became interested in looking for more lieder on texts from Faust that are lesser known. (We all know Schubert’s Gretchen am Spinnrade). That’s the inspiration for the first three pieces. Then we wanted to also have a cantata block. Therefore we chose Arianna a Naxos, which is a really pianisticpiece and which also has very expressive recitatives, which we love to work on. And we have Schubert’s lied “Viola”, which is 15 minutes long and almost feels like a cantata as well. 

If you could sum up your duo’s “USP”, what would it be?
I think presenting a lot of Classical and Romantic repertory on historical instruments makes our collaboration more unique - we are pushing the boundaries of "early music" and "historical performance"  beyond just Baroque music , and in the process we are experimenting with many new and interesting practices on different instruments. 

Where can people follow your work in the future?
You can follow our Facebook artist page or you can look at the Anders' websiteor for the orchestra's website for information on the many projects we are involved in. 

We are delighted to have this as our first EMS record, the first of many to come! Why not take a listen for yourself? It also makes a perfect gift for the Early Music lover, and as it's new, you shouldn't have the worry of them already having it!

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