With their ensemble Artemandoline, formed in 2001, Juan Carlos Muñoz and Mari Fe Pavón chose to go back to the original documents in order to the establish the true pedigree of this incomparable family of instruments. They have made a major contribution to launching a movement to encourage musical freshness and rigour. A better understanding of the compositions, closer study of the early treatises, the playing styles, the musical environment of the glorious era of the mandolin, leads to better appreciation of Baroque music, which itself became over time a mode of thought and action.
Searching for early mandolins, working on the manuscripts, hunting down early treatises, exploring the iconography: these are the means by which, for more than ten years now, the musicians of Artemandoline have sought to do fuller justice to the works of Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Weiss, and their contemporaries. The success of this approach based on a return to the sources, which constitutes the most important development in the history of the interpretation of ‘serious’ music in the course of the twentieth century, has been made possible by the cooperation of many protagonists – musicians, but also concert organisers, recording producers, publishers, musicologists, and instrument makers.
To ensure that music composed in the past does not sound like mere ‘early music’ in the present, the performers must manage to be sufficiently free, spontaneous, anticipative and astonished in their intimate act of creation and the newness it engenders. Juan Carlos Muñoz and Mari Fe Pavón spend their lives searching out and reviving forgotten masterpieces of the mandolin repertory. They are not content with simply presenting their finds like ‘musical archaeologists’, but endeavour to transmit them to the wider public by means of the essential act of communication between interpreters, composers, and listeners.