“17th century music from the Spanish territories” covers a broad expanse of land, indeed. The Spanish empire of the senior Habsburg line reached the apogee of its military expansion at that time, before inevitably collapsing under the weight of rebellion, wars with foreign powers, and financial ruin. The Low Countries and sections of Italy, especially Naples, were then territories of the Spanish crown, so the inclusion of 11 selections by the Neapolitan Andrea Falconieri, and a pair of works by the Dutch Sweelinck and Eyck, is not surprising. The album’s scope is expanded still further through works that are based on Spanish themes (Pieter de Vois’s Pavane de Spanje, Corbetta’s Follie, Storace’s Follia), and Pavaniglia by GirolamoRead more Montesardo—because the piece was part of an instruction book on playing the Spanish guitar. That’s more than a bit of a reach, but the music is catchy, immediately accessible, and expressively varied.
Cordevento is a three-person ensemble. Erik Bosgraaf does the honors on soprano, alto and tenor recorders; Izhar Elias performs on both four- and five-course guitars; and Alessandro Pianu can be heard on a positive organ and harpsichord. If that’s not enough textural variety, each of the three also has solos. Technically, they are proficient, and Bosgraaf in particular displays a propensity for perfectly even, cleanly articulated runs at fearsome tempos. This leads to my one complaint of the album. While there’s much pleasure to be derived from this treatment in such pieces as Falconieri’s Corriente dicha “la Mota” and Brando dicho “el Melo,” there’s something to be said for a slightly slower speed that permits the creative use of stylistically appropriate ornamentation. It’s not a major point in an album that brings such casual pleasure, however. With clear, well-balanced sound, this is a fine introduction to some of the lighter musical aspects of the period. It wasn’t all Victoria and Tallis! Recommended.