Notes and Editorial Reviews
Italian keyboard music had already reached its peak in the early 17th century, when Frescobaldi and the Neopolitan school adapted the features of monody for the keyboard. Unprepared dissonances and unexpected modulations, chromaticism and rhetorical outbursts were especially effective in the improvisatory Toccatas and their expressiveness was emphasized by a meantone temperament. The Canzonas represented a more serious contrapuntal tradition, although they also had some free recitative passages or dance sections. Dances were also popular for the keyboard, especially those based on a ground bass - some easy entertainment for evenings when people gathering together could join the familiar grounds with the instruments that were available.
Bernardo Storace devoted himself exclusively to these long sets of variations. His only publication from 1664, contains all the most popular grounds of his time, a few other dances and only two toccatas with canzonas to serve as introductory pieces. The Toccatas are very compact and clear, far from the ambiguous visions of Frescobaldi. Not much is known of Storace's life. He did abandon the traditional ecclesiastical tonality in favor of major-minor tonality, introducing to the Italians the new way of titling pieces by tonality; a passagalia in a minor, for example. Read less
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title