Author Topic: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!  (Read 21622 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #60 on: August 11, 2016, 08:50:30 PM »


This recording by Pierre Hantaï reminds me of one or two other things by him -  the first Scarlatti CD and the Farnaby CD.

What he offers us  seems initially like an exploration of harpsichord colours, presented in a context of astonishing virtuosity. But it is much more than that, because he is capable of eliciting the most poignant and introspective lyrical music too. The juxtaposition of these serene, tender and dark passages and the more brilliant bravura music makes for something which is humane: humane because the moods are  as changeable in the music  as they are in the human mind. We have here the mixture of laughter, love and tears which constitutes the human condition.

The style of play is like an explosion, an earthquake, a tidal wave. A force or nature. All you can do is let yourself be swept away. Hantaï is so strong here he pacifies the listener, so great is his power to take your breath away.

So Hantaï's Frescobaldi is psychologically real. That's a revelation, and perfectly stylish given the preface to the first book of Toccatas! It is IMO one of the great Frescobaldi CDs, a wonderful complement to Vartolo's mystical virtuosic approach.

Great sound, a harpsichord which sounds like a cross between a wolf and a harp.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 09:29:23 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #61 on: August 12, 2016, 08:39:37 PM »


Listening to Christopher Stembridge play a dozen early toccatas made me think of Nicolaus Harnoncourt:

  • articulation in short and often jolting cells;

  • the phrasing in each voice often independent, so that each voice acquires its own character, one voice may be fluid while another simultaneous one may be anything but;

  • the meantone quarter comma harpsichord giving rise to some striking dissonances. 

The result is a music which is more complex and less lyrical, more virtuosic and less mystical. It is rich from the point of view of counterpoint, though in my opinion this wealth is procured at the expense of a certain severity. An effect compounded by Stembridge's authoritative and extrovert manner.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 08:44:25 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #62 on: August 13, 2016, 08:14:19 AM »


There are three things which make this recording of the capriccios by Gustav Leonhardt one of my favourites.

  • The way he plays the harpsichord (a copy after Giusti 1681.) He's on top form. The delicacy, the refinement, the variety of colours and textures is remarkable. His organ playing is also outstanding.

  • The articulation. The music sings, as is correct for this relatively late music by GF. But he manages to create that cantabile without losing the tension in the music, which I think is an essential part of GF's art (contrast Lester.)

  • The combination of seriousness and wit: many others have managed to be one or the other, but  Leonhardt can be both at the same time.


Leonhardt seems completely at home in the later, relatively austere,  Frescobaldi style. He knows how to make the unexpected musical developments sound coherent in in its context, rather than just the product of an improvisatory élan, a creative whim.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2016, 08:15:59 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #63 on: October 05, 2016, 08:14:40 AM »


Federico del Sordo plays Fiori Musicali, flashily, energetically and I would say glibly. He makes Koopman's Missa Dominica sound meditative and restrained by comparison.  No sense of responsiveness between the organ and the chant as far as I can judge. I can't find any details of the organ, but it sounds like an goodie.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #64 on: January 08, 2017, 12:01:20 AM »
Some interesting comments from Bernard Foccroulle on Facebook. I've just bought myself a ticket to hear him play a mixed programme with some Frescobaldi in Paris in March. He has in fact released just one piece by Frescobaldi, a Toccata on a Ricercar CD called Rubens and his Time.

Quote from: https://www.facebook.com/bernardfoccroulle/
In search of the best organs to play Frescobaldi
I spent last month a beautiful week in Central Italy. For many years, I’ve been looking for the best possible organs to record the music of Girolamo Frescobaldi, the prince of Italian organists at the beginning of the XVIIth century. Born in Ferrara, Frescobaldi became an outstanding and very innovative musician, opening new ways to the expression of highly contrasted human affetti on keyboard instruments. Organist in Rome (Santa Maria in Trastevere and later in the Basilica San Pietro), he also worked in Florence for the Medici and has remained a reference for several generations of musicians. Johann Sebastian Bach copied the whole collection of his “Fiori Musicali” (published in 1637).
As many colleagues, I’ve been more in touch with North Italian organs: the magnificent instruments built by the family Antegnati or by other great organ builders from the Renaissance or the XVIIth century. But several years ago, my friend Andrea Marcon told me: “for years, we’ve been recording Frescobaldi on these Northern instruments. Isn’t time to reveal the instruments Frescobaldi played and composed for when he was in Rome?” I went to Rome and visited historic instruments; it was a big disappointment to see the poor condition of most of them, not well preserved or badly restored. The most beautiful historic organ I played in Rome is located in Santa Barbara dei Librari, a small and intimate church close to Campo de’ Fiori. The instrument has been made around 1600 by an anonymous builder, came there in 1912, and has been very successfully restored by Marco Fratti in 1995. It has only eight stops, no flute, its energy, sound, vivacity, mechanical action, polyphonic clarity and expressiveness are just great!
Last year, I visited also some organs in Umbria with my wife Annick, our daughter Alice who is a soprano and her husband Lambert Colson, who plays the cornetto. This exquisite region, situated not far from Rome, has given several families of organ builders working in Rome and influencing the art of organ-building there from the XVIth century on. Claudio Pinchi, an organ builder coming from a family that has been active in Umbria since four centuries under the name of Fedeli and then Pinchi (is’nt this a world record…?) presented us some extraordinary instruments situated in small cities (Trevi, a very delicate organ built in 1509 by Mastro Paolo di Pietropaolo da Montefalco, one of the most ancient ones in the world!) or villages (Cerreto di Spoleto, A. Belforti, 1580, and A. Maccioni, 1620, or Serra San Quirico, G. M. Testa, 1676). With my students of the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles, I also visited last week beautiful historic organs in Orte and Collescipoli (one of them being built in 1670 by the Flemish organ builder Hermans).
Central Italian organs do have many similarities with Northern ones (on the paper, they look the same), but their pitch is much lower (between 390 and 420 Hz, which is between one tone and half a tone lower than our usual modern pitch – 440Hz), where Northern organs are around 465 up to 490 Hz! More important, the pipes are significantly narrower than in the North, which gives a rich sound that suits very well the flexible and versatile music written by Girolamo Frescobaldi. The chorus of Principale registers as well as the Ripieno make polyphonic pieces sound very transparent. Almost all these organs are tuned in meantone temperament, with pure thirds, which suits perfectly most of these pieces.
Last week, we recorded in several churches: Trevi (mainly for a CD dedicated to Roman composers and conceived by Lambert Colson for the label Passacaille), Cerreto di Spoleto and Santa Barbara in Roma. On that last organ, Marco Fratti made some work, re-establishing a Voce Humana in a second Principale. For Ricercar - a company founded by Jérôme Lejeune I’ve been working with since its begin in 1980 ! -, I recorded a CD of Frescobaldi on the three instruments, as well as some beautiful pieces by Giovanni De Macque, a very innovative composer born in Valenciennes but active mainly in Rome and Naples, at the court of Carlo di Gesualdo.
As often in my experience, playing on and with these old historic instruments indicates a lot of solutions or orientations to perform this music. The way they sound, the way they react to the intentions of the musician, their singing, all that is transforming our perception of that music. Of course, alternating pure organ music with some vocal pieces by Frescobaldi or accompanying the cornetto was another source of inspiration. Playing all that music in these exquisite cities and villages, so harmoniously disposed in their natural beautiful environment, was another part of a global experience. And the radiating and smiling presence of Ilia, our granddaughter (4 months), added a unique perfume to this memorable week.
After having enjoyed so much these instruments, I am now looking forward to hearing the final result in a few months…
Bernard Foccroulle
8 May, 2016
« Last Edit: January 08, 2017, 12:03:36 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #65 on: February 10, 2017, 11:13:37 AM »
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Offline Que

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #66 on: April 04, 2017, 09:36:43 PM »
.


This recording is a very pleasant surprise. :)

I didn't even know that Alessandro de Marchi had recorded for the German Christophorus label, and he didn't since this seems to be a 2014 reissue of a recording on Italian Symphonia in 1993 - it includes 2 pages of liner notes and the Latin texts.

The eight-part mass is here presented in a liturgical reconstruction with additional instrumental pieces (cornett, viola da gamba violoncello, violin, lutes & organ) and motets (all by Frescobaldi) and Gregorian chant. Roman practice is followed by using a spatially divided double choir, each section with its own continuo instruments. The opening and interludes on the organ are played brilliantly by Attilio Cremonesi. Choral singing is excellent.

The recordings were made in two churches in Italy. The recording catches the spatial ambience in a very natural way that is well balanced between the choirs, the organ and the other instruments.

What is regrettable, is that this seems a one off....
Frescobaldi composed another eight-part mass (Messa sopra l'aria di Fiorenza), which could have benefitted from the same luxurious treatment...

A warm recommendation!  :)

Q
« Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 09:58:40 PM by Que »
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Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #67 on: April 13, 2017, 02:30:55 PM »
I have been listening to the 12 CD set on Tactus (Loreggian, Tasini, Vartolo). After the first two CDs (Fantasias, Recercare, Canzoni), and I just cannot get into it. They are all very learned compositions, but they seem a bit dull and--to my admittedly uneducated ear (for this period anyway)--they all pretty much sound the same. Still 10 more CDs to go...

Any suggestions for enjoying/appreciating Frescobaldi?
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 02:33:55 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #68 on: April 13, 2017, 10:18:33 PM »

Any suggestions for enjoying/appreciating Frescobaldi?

For the keyboard music choose one piece and get to know it. Maybe the partite cento sopra passachagli.

If you have Vartolo's capricci in that box, or his Fiori Musicali, they are very successful, and they may also be good places to move to. With the capricci, it's not a single work in any sense, one piece at a time is enough IMO, I think the capriccio on la sol far mi re ut is a good one to start with. And with the Fiori Musicali, they're masses, performed liturgically by Vartolo, so make sure you're following the words and take it one mass at a time.

I note that the Fantasias, Ricercari and organ canzoni are his earliest extant compositions, and may not be the best place to start if you want to get rapidly acquainted with his most important music.   
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 10:36:30 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #69 on: April 15, 2017, 11:21:14 AM »
Yes thanks, I figured that moving chronologically might be the best way to understand this (or any) composer's evolution, and that the more engaging/popular pieces would have come later. Vartolo's Fiori Musicali are included in this set, but it will be a while before I get to them. For now, the toccatas (harpsichord) are a little more interesting than the Fantasias and Recercare (organ) that preceded them.
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Offline milk

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #70 on: September 27, 2017, 03:44:41 AM »
I'm curious if ducks like Frescobaldi were even considered before the post-war period revival.

I'm listening to this at the moment. I'm not sure why I like early baroque like this so much. There's more mystery to it than to gallant or romantic music. It kind of turns around and around and gives me a pleasing vertigo. Anyway: Tilney is at home in this music I think. But I don't have much to compare it to. I have Scott Ross but I've only listened a little to him. Maybe it's a disc that came with his Goldberg-s (I can't remember where I got it). Tilney is a little more intense and mesmerizing. Maybe it's the instrument. Or maybe Ross is slightly more leisurely and lovely. Both seem worth it. Frescobaldi had quite the life working in the best places for the best people.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 03:56:42 AM by milk »

Offline milk

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #71 on: September 27, 2017, 03:54:49 AM »


Tilney's way of playing Frescobaldi is literal, direct. He refuses to dress up the  the contrasts in the the music with changes in texture or timbre,  He  refuses to psychologise the music, to use it as a vehicle to expose his own personality. This is a simplified and purified Frescobaldi.

I remember once commenting here that I thought his Frescobaldi was disappointing. But  over time I've really begun to find the recording fascinating. Part of the reason is the brilliance of the harpsichord, I guess (I don't have the booklet) a Neapolitan instrument like the ones he prefers in Scarlatti. The clarity of the tone, together with Tilney's minimal articulation, serve to bring out the structure of each piece really clearly.

Another part of the reason is the intense and jubilatory quality of the interpretations, which is not without an uplifting and extrovert spirituality.

There's no irony or paradox in Tilney's Frescobaldi, and that is I'm sure a weakness. But nevertheless these simplified and radiant performances match the rich and clear sound of the instrument perfectly. It is, despite the above mentioned reservations, a hypnotic and irresistible experience.
Have you ever seen the French film "Perceval" by Eric Rohmer? In this film, rather than dramatizing the story for a modern audience or setting, he seeks to make something rather flat and circular to evoke the feeling and aesthetic of the medieval. It's a flat film: the sets are flat the the story and acting is flat. Yet it ends in a passion play that reverberates in a lovely and profound way. I think it's because he takes you so far into the sensibility of the story rather than interpreting it in a "personal" way. Anyway, your comment and Tilney remind me of that. Tilney's music seems to "stay in one place" with the music. Nothing jumps out but the music vibrates with its "is-ness." 

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #72 on: September 27, 2017, 08:29:50 AM »
Tilney also recorded some Frescobaldi on his Art of Fugue CD for Music and Arts, called Bach and his forerunners. It's outstanding  I think. Also your comments make me think you'd appreciate Leonhardt's final Frescobaldi recording for Alpha, shared with music by Louis Couperin.
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Offline milk

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #73 on: November 19, 2017, 03:25:01 AM »
Some interesting comments from Bernard Foccroulle on Facebook. I've just bought myself a ticket to hear him play a mixed programme with some Frescobaldi in Paris in March. He has in fact released just one piece by Frescobaldi, a Toccata on a Ricercar CD called Rubens and his Time.
I just obtained this:

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #74 on: November 19, 2017, 04:52:48 AM »
I just obtained this:


He's hardly got a latin temperament, Foccroulle, but I think he's quite flamboyant enough.
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Offline milk

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #75 on: November 19, 2017, 05:08:30 AM »
He's hardly got a latin temperament, Foccroulle, but I think he's quite flamboyant enough.
I may need something to compare it to.

Offline Que

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #76 on: November 19, 2017, 06:20:03 AM »
I may need something to compare it to.


Q
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Offline milk

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #77 on: November 19, 2017, 06:48:19 AM »

Offline Mandryka

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Frescobaldi, Girolamo - Italian Keyboard Pioneer!
« Reply #79 on: February 11, 2018, 10:31:42 PM »
I have 13 recordings of Ancidetimi pur

Vartolo - harpsichord, with the sung madrigal
Häkkinen - harpsichord
Le banquet céleste - harp
Bonizzoni - harpsichord
Loreggian - harpsichord, with the sung madrigal
Laurent Stewart - harpsichord
Thomas Schmögner - Organ (modern?)
Colin Tilney - Harpsichord
Rachel Taylor - harpsichord
Guglielmi - harpsichord
Aticciati - harpsichord
Lester - harpsichord
Silvia Rambaldi - harpsichord

Comparative listening really reveals how special Häkkinen's instrument is, and indeed what a good feel he has for playing stylus phantasticus.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 10:51:04 PM by Mandryka »
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