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Storace: Works For Harpsichord & Organ / Jorg Halobek


Release Date: 03/31/2009 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777444-2   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



STORACE Ciaccona in C. Passacaglias: sopra f; sopra c; sopra c. Toccatas: in F; in G. Romanesca. Balletto. Follia. Ballo della battaglia in D. Capriccio sopra Ruggiero. Ricercare in e. Aria sopra la spagnoletta. Partita sopra il cinque passi Jörg Halubek (hpd, org) cpo 777 444 (72:39)


Once we move beyond the well-known musicians of the 17th century, even the sparest details of existence frequently fade from Read more sight. About Bernardo Storace, for example, we know he was born around 1637 and died approximately 70 years later. The title page of his only edition of keyboard works, entitled Selva di varie compositioni d’intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo , informs us that he was the assistant maestro di cappella to the “noble senate” or titled governing body of Messina, Sicily, while the edition itself came from Venice. Beyond this, we have no hard facts, save the music, itself.


That is very much in the popular Italian monodist tradition: either folk-based pieces playing variations over a passacaglia, or relatively simple but effective examples of a more learned manner, involving imitative counterpoint—such as the pair of toccatas very much in Frescobaldi’s manner, paired with tuneful, bare, but academically correct fugues. Every so often the folk influence is acknowledged at its source, as in the Aria on spagnoletta , one of those melodies that turn up frequently in monodic collections of the period in an international series of arrangements from the likes of Giles Farnaby, Fabritio Caroso, and Michael Praetorius. (Respighi was to return to it several hundred years later, in the third set of his Ancient Airs and Dances .) This version has the air of a lute transcription—and that would hardly be surprising for its place and period—with a vocal line and accompaniment in basic counterpoint. The chords are filled out ever so slightly, but Storace’s Spagnoletta would just barely challenge a beginning harpsichordist.


Sometimes Storace ventures something more complex. The Ricercare in E Minor is a fine instance of a piece characterized by a mix of fugal elements with an improvised character. The harpsichord-based Passacaglia in C Minor increases tension through changes to rhythms, harmonic suspensions, and density of texture. Set apart from these and the rest is another Passacaglia, in C Minor, clearly intended for organ, that is roughly twice the length of much of the other material heard here, and intensifies the vertical writing throughout. If Storace is hardly a William Byrd when it comes to the subtle and artistic arrangement of fundamentally uncomplicated materials, these pieces hint at something more. Surely a musician serving the senate of Messina—a city regarded at the time, directly before its futile bid of independence from Spain, as one of the finest in Europe—would have been expected to thoroughly understand and display his craft. But in the apparent absence of any other surviving music, this is all we have to judge Storace’s gifts, and they provide us mainly with occasional music fit for private enjoyment among amateurs. Few hints are offered of what he might have written in his public function.


This isn’t to say that the rest of the content, the various dances clothed in easy variations, lack charm. Ruggiero is another folk tune with variations that plays pleasantly with imitation between the hands. The Ballo della battaglia sounds like a transcription of a delightfully tongue-in-cheek march for voice, with simple accompaniment. It also illustrates Jörg Halubek’s expert choice of organ registers to score his points, which he does successfully throughout this album. I’ve only heard him previously on CDs of Bach. He reveals a different side on much of this recording, emphasizing color, clarity, and wit without trying to show off his very considerable skill at virtuosic speeds. Decoration is handled carefully, almost soberly, without any intent to show off. Halubek is also strongly interested in the restoration of older keyboard instruments, which makes the absence of any discussion of the organ and harpsichord used on this recording all the more unfortunate. Suffice to say that the harpsichord, with a sweet, delicate sound, is said to originate in Venice in 1600, while the small but characterful organ, unsigned and undated, was probably built in the mid 18th century. The recorded sound is excellent, with liner notes provided by Halubek himself.


In short, very attractive performances of pleasant music. Recommended as an interesting sidelight on one of the most fascinating periods of music in the Italian states.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Chaconne in C major by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1664; Italy 
2.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Passagagli sopra Fe fa ut per b by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1664; Italy 
3.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Toccata in F major by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
4.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Romanesca by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1664; Italy 
5.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Balletto by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1664; Italy 
6.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Follia by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1664; Italy 
7.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Ballo della battaglia in D major by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1664; Italy 
8.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Capriccio sopra Ruggiero by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1664; Italy 
9.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Passacaglia in C minor by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1664; Italy 
10.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Toccata in G major by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
11.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Ricercare in E minor by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
12.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Aria sopra la Spagnoletta by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1664; Italy 
13.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Partita sopra il cinque passi by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Jörg Halobek (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 

Sound Samples

Ciaccona
Passagagli sopra in F minor
Toccata in F major: Toccata in F major
Romanesca
Balletto
Follia
Ballo della Battaglia
Capriccio sopra Ruggiero
Passagagli in C minor (for harpsichord): Passagagli sopra in C minor
Toccata in G major
Recercar in E minor
Aria sopra la Spagnoletta
Partite sopra Il cinque Passi
Passagagli sopra in C minor

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