Founded in 1981 the Mandel Quartet was established to perform rarely heard gems from the 16th-17th centuries in unique and unexpected instrumental ensembles. In the subsequent three decades the consistently popular quartet has participated in the world’s leading festivals, with over 2000 concerts from Brazil to Mexico, the USA to Europe, and on to Israel and Russia. Their music appears on 30 CDs and they have been heard by tens of millions in high-profile radio and TV broadcasts. The Ensemble’s founder and leader, Robert Mandel, started as organologist and restorer of instruments interested in the revival of some of the more unusual instruments in the Renaissance instrumentarium. The vielle, (Drehleier, zanfona, ghironda or tekerőlant) one of the most provocative instruments in the history of music, began its career as one of the most important church instruments. Traveling minstrels then took it up because it served well to accompany songs. In the eighteenth century the French aristocracy discovered it and converted it into a status symbol, but after 1789 it fell from grace and its courtly players were scattered across eastern Europe where they ended up performing with local folk musicians.
Their descendants still played regularly in Vienna through the end of nineteenth century and traveled regularly to neighboring countries. The instrument’s history took yet another turn in the latter half of the twentieth century when it was discovered by young musicians seeking to save remnants of the musical past. These musicians (Robert Mandel among the first of them) saved the vielle from oblivion and popularized this wonderful instrument in their concerts. Today the vielle is played by tens of thousands of individuals and, thanks to Robert Mandel and others, the vielle is now a frequent guest at festivals, workshops, and other musical programs around the world.
Reestablished in 2012 with new members, the Mandel Quartet works with internationally renowned artists. The ensemble’s repertoire and performances center on the sound of the vielle, played by Robert Mandel, giving the quartet a fundamentally different character from the world’s other early music ensembles. Its programs frequently feature relatively unknown selections from collections of Central European courtly Renaissance music.
This is their debut album from 1988 and it´s fascinating how fresh and beautiful these unique compositions sound – composed many, many centuries ago ! Unbelieveable !
László Jakobi (rebec, cello)
Gábor Kállay (rebec, recorder)
Róbert Mandel (hurdy gurdy, symphonia, lute)
István Márta (percussion, tambourine, harpsichord)
Boldizsár Keönch (vocals)
Zoltán Rácz (chime bells, tambourine)
01. Mediaeval Dances (Traditional) 5.17
02. French Renaissance Dances (Gervaise) 4.52
03. Medieval Chants (Traditional) 3.57
04. Dances From The “Dancerye ” Collection (Susato) 4.22
05. Les Fleurs Op. 4 (Delavigne) 6.36
06. Sonata Prima (Castello) 5.09
07. Trio Sonata In C Major (Naudot) 7.59
08. Greensleeves To A Ground – Variations (Tradtional) 4.24
09. Sonata In C Major “Il Pastor Fido” (Vivaldi) 12.17
10. Hungarian Dances from the Pozsony Manuscript (Traditional) 3.59
11. Hadju Dances (Traditional) 5.45
* (coming soon)