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Italia: Bellissimo Seicento!

Castello / Kraemer / Mccraw / Wright
Release Date: 10/29/2013 
Label:  Early-music.com   Catalog #: 7774   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Dario CastelloGiovanni Battista FontanaAlessandro PiccininiErcole Pasquini,   ... 
Performer:  Elisabeth WrightMichael McCrawManfredo KraemerDolores Costoyas
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



Italia: Bellissima Seicento Manfredo Kraemer (vn); Michael McGraw (dulcian); Elisabeth Wright (hpd, Org); Dolores Gostoyas (thb) EARLY-MUSIC.COM 7774 (73:20)


Music by BERTOLI, CASTELLO, FONTANA, FRESCOBALDI, MARINI, PICCININI


The origins of instrumental musical genres seem to lie mainly around the beginning of the 17th century, when pieces such as sonatas, canzonas, and toccatas emerged from the already popular dances that formed the bulk of published Read more consort music of the age. Of course, keyboard collections such as Parthenia and the works of Jan Sweelinck were already appearing, but the concept of musica da camera began to be popular in the various courts in Italy, being somewhat of a novelty. As precedents were relatively few, these early attempts were often rather short, generally around five minutes in length, and consisted of a number of alternating dance or series of contrapuntal movements that followed in quick succession.


This disc presents a rather good variety of these early works by Dario Castello, Giovanni Fontana, Ercole Pasquini, Alessandro Piccinini, and Giovanni Bertoli, all relatively obscure, along with Biagio Marini and Girolamo Frescobaldi, who appear in music history texts somewhat more regularly. All of them published collections of volumes of instrumental works that were meant to be performed by generic combinations of instruments, including keyboard solo. Of course, the violin was making its first appearance as a dominant instrument, and so there is more than a hint that this was used as the melody, but a number of combinations were always possible. For instance, Dario Castello, who apparently died of the plague about 1630, was a dulcian player (the dulcian being a forerunner of the bassoon) and therefore on might expect that he would favor that instrument, as would Bertoli, who was also a virtuoso. Frescobaldi was a well-regarded organist, as was Pasquini, and therefore their works would feature the keyboard, a harpsichord in the case of the former. Marini and Fontana were violinists and Piccinini a lutenist, and thus their focus is not unexpected in these series of “sonatas” drawn from the published collections. Again, all of this comes at the very beginning of the rise of Baroque instrumental genres, and as such seems to be blazing new pathways, even with Pasquini’s interesting take on the madrigal Ancor che col partire by Cirpriano di Rore, one of his predecessors.


I am especially partial to the dulcian playing by Michael McGraw, who weaves his way around the instrument with ease and dexterity. He does blend well with Manfredo Kraemer’s violin, which is a rather difficult thing to do. This makes the four sonatas by Castello, in which the dulcian part would tax even a modern bassoon, come alive. The violin even does a nice imitation in Fontana’s Sonata’s middle movement, which is a page right out of monodic opera, something one usually attributes to the voice alone. The two theorbo pieces by Piccinini, a stately Toccata and a flowing Corrente, are performed with a nice, resonant sound by theorbo player Dolores Gostoyas. When she unites with the harpsichord, one has a wonderfully adept continuo grouping to offset the sometimes gnarly melodic lines. At the very end, the second half of the Castello Sonata Ottava is repeated, this time as recorded in front of a live audience (there is clapping at the end, so be warned). This gives a comparison between the more static studio and the excitement of a real audience and concert hall, though to tell the truth, I can’t find any real differences, apart from the occasional resonance issue in the hall.


This disc, apparently available mainly online, is a Canadian production recorded in Uruguay, which hopefully augurs well for other American (North and South) productions of the same sort. It may not have as singular a focus as other programmatic or single-composer discs have, but it does present a lively and well-performed sampling of the instrumental music of this emerging genre. Moreover, the added excellence of the dulcian makes for a remarkable early Baroque experience that is musical, tasteful, and decorative. Recommended.


FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonate concertate in stil moderno Book 1: Sonata no 8 à 2 by Dario Castello
Performer:  Elisabeth Wright (Harpsichord), Elisabeth Wright (Organ), Michael McCraw (Dulcian),
Manfredo Kraemer (Violin), Dolores Costoyas (Theorbo)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1621 
Venue:  Capillia San José del manga in the park 
Length: 4 Minutes 59 Secs. 
2.
Sonate concertate in stil moderno Book 1: Sonata no 7 à 2 by Dario Castello
Performer:  Manfredo Kraemer (Violin), Dolores Costoyas (Theorbo), Elisabeth Wright (Organ),
Elisabeth Wright (Harpsichord), Michael McCraw (Dulcian)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1621; Venice, Italy 
Venue:  Capillia San José del manga in the park 
Length: 5 Minutes 40 Secs. 
3.
Sonata No.12 for violin, dulcian & continuo by Giovanni Battista Fontana
Performer:  Dolores Costoyas (Theorbo), Manfredo Kraemer (Violin), Elisabeth Wright (Harpsichord),
Michael McCraw (Dulcian), Elisabeth Wright (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Capillia San José del manga in the park 
Length: 5 Minutes 34 Secs. 
4.
Toccata No. 10, for theorbo by Alessandro Piccinini
Performer:  Dolores Costoyas (Theorbo)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Capillia San José del manga in the park 
Length: 2 Minutes 28 Secs. 
5.
Corrente for Lute no 1 by Alessandro Piccinini
Performer:  Dolores Costoyas (Theorbo)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Venue:  Capillia San José del manga in the park 
Length: 1 Minutes 44 Secs. 
6.
Sonata Seconda for soprano recorder, viola da gamba & lute (from Sonata à 1, 2, 3) by Giovanni Battista Fontana
Performer:  Elisabeth Wright (Organ), Manfredo Kraemer (Violin), Dolores Costoyas (Theorbo),
Elisabeth Wright (Harpsichord), Michael McCraw (Dulcian)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
Venue:  Capillia San José del manga in the park 
Length: 6 Minutes 45 Secs. 
7.
Anchor che col partire, for keyboard, S21 by Ercole Pasquini
Performer:  Elisabeth Wright (Organ), Dolores Costoyas (Theorbo), Elisabeth Wright (Harpsichord),
Manfredo Kraemer (Violin), Michael McCraw (Dulcian)
Venue:  Capillia San José del manga in the park 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
8.
Sonata No 1 for bassoon & organ by Giovanni Antonio Bertoli
Performer:  Elisabeth Wright (Harpsichord), Dolores Costoyas (Theorbo), Elisabeth Wright (Organ),
Manfredo Kraemer (Violin), Michael McCraw (Dulcian)
Venue:  Capillia San José del manga in the park 
Length: 6 Minutes 55 Secs. 
9.
Sonata undecima a 2, for chamber instruments & continuo (from Op. 8) by Biagio Marini
Performer:  Dolores Costoyas (Theorbo), Michael McCraw (Dulcian), Manfredo Kraemer (Violin),
Elisabeth Wright (Harpsichord), Elisabeth Wright (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 10/01/1626 
Venue:  Capillia San José del manga in the park 
Length: 4 Minutes 20 Secs. 
10.
Sonata Nona by Giovanni Battista Fontana
Performer:  Elisabeth Wright (Organ), Michael McCraw (Dulcian), Manfredo Kraemer (Violin),
Elisabeth Wright (Harpsichord), Dolores Costoyas (Theorbo)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Capillia San José del manga in the park 
Length: 5 Minutes 31 Secs. 
11.
Sonata Sesta by Giovanni Battista Fontana
Performer:  Michael McCraw (Dulcian), Dolores Costoyas (Theorbo), Elisabeth Wright (Harpsichord),
Elisabeth Wright (Organ), Manfredo Kraemer (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Capillia San José del manga in the park 
Length: 6 Minutes 28 Secs. 
12.
Libro primo: Toccata quattro by Girolamo Frescobaldi
Performer:  Dolores Costoyas (Theorbo), Elisabeth Wright (Harpsichord), Elisabeth Wright (Organ),
Michael McCraw (Dulcian), Manfredo Kraemer (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Capillia San José del manga in the park 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 

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