I went to see the Austrian duo BartolomeyBittmann last night and came back thinking that there are lots of talented acts that remain very little known despite the fact that they have all it takes to make it big. I also considered that there’s little middle ground in today’s musical landscape. You’re either a megastar or a troupe that plays to small audiences here and there. Very few performers find themselves in between.
Back to BartolomeyBittman, a duo comprised of Klemens Bittmann (violin and mandola) and Matthias Bartolomey (cellist), their concert last night was a small tour de force spanning everything from classical music, folk music à la Jethro Tull, jazz, rock, punk, and more. Both musicians are classical music graduates and, according to the concert presenter, have teaching positions—and then according to one article Matthias Bartolomey is the principal cellist of Concentus Musicus, a music ensemble in Vienna. I imagine their lives are really busy (but I don’t have to imagine: here’s their touring schedule for 2022 (also for previous years and, in part, for 2023). Busy but full of wonderful energy and so happy to share their love for music and their instruments. I sat there listening thinking that musicians need to work out quite a lot to be in good shape. You have to have a good feeling in your body when you’re playing, and if you see these two, you’ll know what I mean. No lumbar pain, no cervical pain, no strain in arm muscles, and so forth. They were an inspiration on this level too. I loved it when Bittmann raised a leg in tune with the music. He played not only with his violin and mandola but with his body as well, and seeing someone live the music with his body like that was wonderful.
The mandola, if you were wondering, is an ancestor of the mandolin, tuned a fifth lower.
Bartolomey and Bittmann have been playing together for ten years and have just launched their album Zehn [Ten].
All the pieces they played were their own compositions. You can find many of them and more on their website (which also includes some Jimi Hendrix arrangements).
They are playing in Cluj today. The ticket is about 25 euros.
To a happier, healthier life,