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Rossi: Toccatas And Correnti / Sergio Vartolo


Release Date: 06/21/2005 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557321   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 20 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

As the liner notes to this release containing the complete published keyboard music of Michelangelo Rossi (1602–1656) focus solely on the works and their publication, a brief biographical word would seem warranted. He was the son of the Genoese violinist Carlo Rossi, and became, for a time, the assistant to his uncle, a Servite friar and principal organist at the San Lorenzo cathedral. Rossi moved to Rome in 1624, where his teacher and friend was the illustrious Frescobaldi. Within a few years, Rossi’s talents began attracting attention, and his aristocratic patrons included at various points the powerful Barberini family in Rome, the Estes in Modena, and the Sforzas in Ferrara. Rossi’s later activities have proven difficult to track; until Read more the record of his burial was discovered in the 1970s, it was even thought that he continued working as late as 1670 in Faenza. To be a respected and performed composer in the Italian states during Rossi’s lifetime meant writing vocal music. Noble courts conceived of choirs as international status symbols, and vied for the services of good singers. Salaries were high, and diplomatic representatives weren’t above bribing vocalists to change masters. Rossi wrote madrigals and a pair of operas; he also received the nickname “Michelangelo del Violino” for his virtuosic skills on the violin. But his keyboard works arguably give us the composer’s inspiration in its purest form, being created for performance by himself—and of course, those aristocratic amateurs lucky enough to purchase a copy of his music.

Rossi favored the sudden chromatic shifts of d’India, whom he met in 1624 (while both musicians were in the service of Cardinal Maurenzio of Savoy), and Molinaro, maestro di cappella at the cathedral where his uncle served. His other major influence was Frescobaldi, whose freely expressive toccatas and contrapuntally elaborate canzoni formed the basis for Rossi’s own multimovement, often manneristic toccatas. The corrente, by comparison, was an extremely popular dance form of the early 17th century in syncopated triple time. I agree with Vartolo, who considers Rossi’s correnti as masterpieces of the genre—though he finds the inevitable link back to Frescobaldi, while I note a similarity to Molinaro’s complex but ethereal lute works. The harpsichordist quotes Frescobaldi as writing that he requires “the manner of playing with cantabile effects and with a diversity of passages” which “must not be subject to the beat.” This is appropriate not only to Frescobaldi’s own keyboard works but to Rossi’s toccatas, and Vartolo follows its dictates. His technique is excellent, as is his comprehension of each toccata’s shape, and his ability to convey that through broad variations in tempo, phrasing, and dramatic rests. The correnti are treated less boldly, but still delivered with a flexibility that points to their origins among dances for listening entertainment.

Though published originally as Toccate e Correnti d’Intavolatura d’organo e cembalo, Vartolo performs everything here on the harpsichord. Mention is made on the back of the jewel box of “period instruments” without any further information, other than the use of A=415Hz and the application of meantone tuning. I assume Vartolo preferred the crispness of the harpsichord’s sound and its sharp attack, though he doesn’t comment on this in his otherwise first-rate liner notes. These content themselves with a review of the differences among the four surviving copies of Rossi’s work, his keyboard compositional style, and a consideration of the notational curiosities in each piece.

The sound quality is bright and forward, with perhaps a touch too much mechanism at times. All in all, highly recommended, and a worthy successor to Vartolo’s two-CD set of Frescobaldi (Naxos 8.553547–48).

Barry Brenesal, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Toccata for Harpsichord no 1 in C major by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1630; Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
2.
Toccata for Harpsichord no 2 in A minor by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1630; Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
3.
Toccata for Harpsichord no 7 in D minor by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1630; Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
4.
Corrente for Harpsichord no 3 by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1637; Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
5.
Corrente for Harpsichord no 6 by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1637; Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
6.
Corrente for Harpsichord no 10 by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1637; Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
7.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Toccata no 3 in E minor by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1634; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
8.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Toccata no 4 in G minor by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1634; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
9.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Toccata no 5 in C major by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1634; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 7 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
10.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Toccata no 6 in G major by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1634; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
11.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Toccata no 8 in B Flat major by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1634; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
12.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Toccata no 9 in A minor by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1634; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
13.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Toccata no 10 in F major by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1634; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 9 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
14.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Corrente no 1 by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1634; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
15.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Corrente no 2 by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1634; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
16.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Corrente no 4 by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1634; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
17.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Corrente no 5 by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1634; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 0 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
18.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Corrente no 7 by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
19.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Corrente no 8 by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1634; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 
20.
Toccate e corenti d'intavolatura: Corrente no 9 by Michelangelo Rossi
Performer:  Sergio Vartolo (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1634; Rome, Italy 
Venue:  Fumane, Verona, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Notes: Fumane, Verona, Italy (06/19/2003 - 06/20/2003) 

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