girolamo frescobaldi

Music Monday: Libro Quarto d’intavolatura di Chitarrone 1640

Posted on

Kapsberger Image One
Image Credit: cuerdaspulsadas.es

Three hundred, eighty years ago, the Libro quarto d’intavolatura di chitarrone (Fourth Book of Chitarrone Tablature) was published. Composed by Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger (Johannes Hieronymus Kapsberger), a highly skilled GermanItalian early-Baroque musician, it consists of 12 toccatas, 16 preludes, 10 passacaglias, 5 chaconnes, along with other pieces including variations, canzonas & dances. Kapsberger was known for lute & theorbo (chitarrone) mastery. He was in the service of Cardinal Francesco Barberini by 1624, working along side Girolamo Frescobaldi and Stefano Landi, as well as the future Pope Clement IX.

Kapsberger Image Two
Image Credit: last.fm

Some of his contemporaries, including Landi, criticized Kapsberger’s composing skill. Due to his unusual rhythmic groupings, sharp contrasts and non-conforming to the rules of counterpoint, it was suggested that he was an inferior composer. A current lutenist, Rolf Lislevand commented in liner notes in 1993:

“Kapsberger was as bad a composer as he was a fine instrumentalist […]. The ideas are often badly developed and are freely associated with one another […]. [N]o real musical discourse is built up […] the rhythm, even after serious efforts at fathoming it, wavers between inspired cleverness and total confusion.

Despite the above complaints, Kapsberger greatly contributed towards advancing European plucked string instruments of the time. At least six collections were published during his lifetime, two of which are currently lost.

There is very little else written about this specific composition. ~Vic

Additional Reading & Sources:
Kapsberger: Interview with Anne Marie Dragosits (Cuervas Pulsadas or Pulsed Ravens Website)
Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (Wikipedia)

Tune Tuesday: Fiori Musicali 1635

Posted on

Fiori Musicali Image One
Image Credit: meantone.altervista.org
Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Coming to 1635…

Fiori musicali (Musical Flowers) is a collection of liturgical organ music by Girolamo Frescobaldi, first published in 1635. It contains three organ masses and two secular capriccios. Generally acknowledged as one of Frescobaldi’s best works, Fiori Musicali influenced composers during at least two centuries. Johann Sebastian Bach was among its admirers and parts of it were included in the celebrated Gradus ad Parnassum, a highly influential 1725 treatise by Johann Joseph Fux which was in use even in the 19th century.

Fiori Musicali was first published in Venice in 1635, when Frescobaldi was working as [the] organist of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, under the patronage of Pope Urban VIII and his nephew Cardinal Francesco Barberini. It may have been conceived as music for St. Mark’s Basilica or a similarly important church. The collection was printed by Giacomo Vincenti (a celebrated publisher who had previously published reprints of Frescobaldi’s capriccios) and dedicated to Cardinal Antonio Barberini, Francesco‘s younger brother.

The full title of Frescobaldi’s work is Fiori musicali di diverse compositioni, toccate, kyrie, canzoni, capricci, e recercari, in partitura. Before Fiori musicali, Frescobaldi seldom published liturgical music. The organ mass was still in its infancy and composers seldom published such music. [It] is one of the most influential collections of music in European history. Frescobaldi’s collection was studied by Henry Purcell and Johann Sebastian Bach (the latter copied the entire work for his own use).

Additional Reading:
Fiori-Musicali (Britannica)
Structure (Wikipedia)

Toccata avanti la Messa della Dominica (before the mass)

Kyrie della Domenica

The Full Collection