Mallory is a duo founded in 2019 by mezzo soprano Tessa Roos & gamba player Mathilde Gomas. The two musicians met while studying their Early Music Performance master’s degrees at the famous Schola Cantorum in Basel.
Mallory performs early music with the unusual setting of a voice & a viol, especially the repertoire composed in England in the early 17th century.
Lute or viol?
At the turn of the 17th century in London, one of the most popular musical genres is the lute song: a singer accompanied by a lute. John Dowland is nowadays the most famous representative of that genre, but a multitude of other composers used this format to set poetry to music. On the front page of most collections of songs published at the time, one can read “Collection of Ayres to be sung to the lute, or the viol”.
The reason behind these titles is that the viol was considered a polyphonic instrument very capable of accompanying the voice: the way of playing chords on the instrument, called “lyra way”, is one of the most intriguing fashions in the history of the Viola da Gamba with many aspects to still be explored by modern players. Yet, it seems that very few have tried to play the lute song repertoire on the viol instead of the lute…
With this unusual yet wonderful combination of a voice and a viol, Mallory aims to reinvent a well-known repertoire but also to unveil gems from forgotten composers of the time.