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   Toccate Partite D'Intavolatura Di Cimbalo Et Organo. Libro Primo



Год издания : 1990

Компания звукозаписи : Tactus

Время звучания : 3:17:09

К-во CD : 3

Код CD : tactus tc 58060780

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CD, стоящие на полке рядом : Classics (Organ & Harpsichord)      

Performers: Sergio Vartolo (harpsichord CD1, CD2, CD3#1-8; organ, CD3#9), ? Gloria Moretti (un-named soprano, sung arias opening tracks CD2#5-6, CD3#1,6-7)

Instruments: Harpsichord (Barthelemy Formentelli; copy of contemporary instrument, Rezzonico Venezia); Organ (Evangeli di Baldassarre Malamini, 1598 - Basilica di S. Petronio, Bologna)

Recording date: March 1987

This is Frescobaldi's third keyboard publication, and his most famous, it was revised and printed several times, first in 1615 and most recently in 1637 with the inclusion of a great deal of new material in the Agguinta. The previous publications were more old-fashioned in conception, namely Il primo libro delle fantasie a quattro (1608) & Recercari et canzoni franzese fatte sopra diversi oblighi in partitura (1615). Thus the present book first shows Frescobaldi's ground-breaking style, in which he would combine the techniques of the various keyboard schools around Italy with a new sense of rhetorical freedom to write the great toccatas & partitas.

The style of playing here is usually relaxed, with aria variations worked through quite leisurely, but with more punch to the few dances.

All Music Guide

========= from the cover ==========

Following on Il primo libro delle fantasie a quattro (Milan, 1608) and the collection of Ricercari et canzoni franzese fatte sopra diversi oblighi in partitura (Rome, 1615), the volume of Toccate e partite d'intavolatura di cimbalo. Libro primo was published in 1615 in Rome, to which city Frescobaldi had been called in 1608 to take up the post of organist at the Cappella Giulia of St. Peter's at the age of twenty-five. To judge from the number of times it was reprinted in the years immediately after its issue, the collection must have been received enthusiastically. Of particular interest is the edition of 1628 in which the title-page has an interesting variant: Il primo libro d'intavolatura di toccata di cimbalo et organo...; the words di cimbalo et organo were to remain in the title-page until the last known edition of 1637. On one hand, the addition of the word "organ" clearly points to the lack of interest, typical of Frescobaldi's time, for questions of timbre - something that was only later to gain importance in instrumental music; on the other hand it poses the problem that in the first printed edition, Frescobaldi, organist of the Cappella Giulia and celebrated virtuoso on the cembalo and spinet, did not mention the organ. The question, therefore, is very simple: should these toccatas of the first book be performed on the harpsichord or the organ? The question remains open for the reasons described above; neither does the music itself, with its many different features, provide us with a definitive answer. While many aspects of these toccatas of the first book would seem to point towards performance on the harpsichord, there are several passages which would appear to suggest more or less explicitly the sonority of the organ. It is therefore more prudent to talk of preferences rather than a definitive answer when addressing this problem.

The system of reference of these toccatas - and to a large extent to those of the second book, too - is characteristic of all the music of this period of crisis. For centuries musical theory and practice had been founded upon the principle of the inviolability of the diatonic modes which, despite constant violation and deviation, had always provided a certain, fixed point of reference in which to believe. Now, however, a vast, new world of sound was opened up, in which the generalised use of musical procedures using tones extraneous to the diatonic system of the modes, formerly reserved for use at cadence points. The rich palette of sound which composers now had available is an indication of the extent to which the horizon had broadened beyond the diatonic system of the modes, a system which it becomes increasingly difficult to regard as the focal centre of the new musical possibilities at the composer's disposal. The musical material used here, as in other compositions of this period, is so rich that any attempt to trace a system of reference based upon the modes would involve too many exclusions, exceptions and lengthy explanations to be acceptable to any but the most willing critic.

On the other hand, however, the experimental use of the basso continuo, a compositional device that radically modifies the musical perspective towards a vertical conception of the diachronic development of the musical subjects, does not yet in this transitional period allow the critic to indulge in speculation that would strain and probably distort the very concept of harmony as it is understood today. Thus, though one could be tempted to interpret certain movements of the bass line, certain caesuras and certain tensions in compositions of this period by the criteria of harmonic logic, and to infer the presence of phenomena relating to the principles of tonality, the price to be paid is once again to force back on to the history of music compositional processes which, if observed from a diametrically opposed vantage point, would instead appear as projections into the future.

In the light of the above, it would seem reasonable to work on the hypothesis of a transitional system of reference that stands as a bridge between the old modal system and the new tonal system; a passing order for a particular historical moment, characterised in a certain manner and based upon principles that can to some extent serve as a basis for our understanding of the compositional procedures of the fascinating but problematic works of this period. A system which, without completely rejecting the compositional processes of a recent past, nevertheless allows us to see in perspective those problem areas, that were soon to find their solution within a new order, within a system based upon a compromise between modal and tonal thought. It is at the point of overlap between these two systems - each one independent and governed by its own rules - that we may find the material necessary for the definition of a transitional system as described above.

Let us consider one possibile approach. In a given modal scale, not all the notes stand in a fixed, unchangeable relation to the finalis. In certain circumstances individual notes may be momentarily altered, but without actually constituting a deviation as such from the original mode of reference. In play here is the concept of "modal mobility", according to which mediaeval theory is not always sufficient to explain satisfactorily the whole repertoire of modally inspired music. The theory of "modal mobility" hypothesises the existence of scales whose constituent notes are partially "mobile", i.e. the intervals between the various degrees of the scale may be modified without compromising in any way the supremacy of the original mode.

In other words, unless other determinant factors linked to the structure and to the formal development of the piece come into play, one should not consider every note that is extraneous to the home mode as a deviation from it. (Clearly, we are not here concerned with changes involving the transposition of the diatonic mode from its original home to a different degree of the scale, changes which are, in fact, usually indicated by a change of clef). These extraneous notes should, rather, be interpreted as a widening of the natural reserve offered by the diatonic home mode, which is thus enriched by new tones and new intervals with respect to the finalis. In this way, each diatonic mode may be seen as having not only its basic (diatonic) form, but also other secondary, dependent forms with non-diatonic tones - the "mobile degrees" - that play their part in the whole. These "mobile tones" may in different moments take on different aspects, different nuances, subtle changes of colour, but always in relation to the frame of reference provided by the basic diatonic form and by their relation to the finalis.

On the basis of the concepts of "mobile degree" and "nuance", the momentary lowering of the sixth degree of the Dorian scale (signifying a reduction of a semitone in the interval between the sixth degree and the finalis, from major to minor sixth) may be interpreted as an "Aeolian" or "Phrygian nuance", as it is these two modes that have an interval of a minor sixth between the sixth degree of the scale and the finalis. Similarly, the temporary raising of the fourth degree of the Ionian scale by a semitone (from perfect fourth to augmented fourth in relation to the finalis) may be seen as a "Lydian nuance", as the augmented fourth between the fourth degree of the scale and the finalis is characteristic of the Lydian mode. In more general terms - and bearing in mind that the musical theory upon which Frescobaldi's toccatas are based may be traced back to the twelve mode system of Glareanus - a tone foreign to the home mode and the resulting "improper" interval in relation to the finalis may, within certain limits, be interpreted as a borrowing from the mode or modes in which such an interval would be "proper". In this way, we can read as "normal" musical events which would have to be regarded as exceptions in either the system of diatonic modes in its "pure" form or in the major-minor key system. Thus the transitional system that we mentioned above - the bridge between the modal and the tonal worlds, as it were - may be broadly defined as an "enlarged" modal system.

Of the twelve toccatas of the first book, four are in the Dorian mode transposed up a fourth (Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4), two in the Phrygian (Nos. 5 and 6), one in the Aeolian transposed up a fourth (No. 7), one in the Lydian (No. 8), one in the Aeolian (No. 9). one in the Ionian transposed up a fourth (No. 10) and two in the Ionian (Nos. 11 and 12). Even a quick glance, however, is enough to confirm that the home modes just mentioned serve as no more than the framework for these varied, complex works. Hardly a bar goes by without at least one non-diatonic tone being used in one way or another: sometimes the diatonic note is raised to achieve almost an effect of tonality; at other times it is lowered in order to reinforce the modal nature of certain passages which would otherwise tend towards the "modern" major or minor key system; sometimes it transforms a major chord into a minor one or vice-versa by raising or lowering the third; sometimes it is used to frustrate the expectations created by a particular musical progression; sometimes simply as an alternative to the diatonic note, the other side of the same coin.

What we see, then, is a richly varied use of the musical palette, a clear tendency towards the enlargement of the old system of reference based upon the modal scales, which pushes it almost to its limits. A compositional method already encountered in the works of Mayone and Trabaci which, with Frescobaldi, seems to lose both the sense that there is a certain lack of design and the somewhat forced feeling that is sometimes found in the works of the Neapolitans. In Frescobaldi's works, individual events tend to form a balanced, homogeneous whole, following a logic that ensures continuity between the single event and the whole piece. In those works in which the principle of the mobility of the degrees of the scale is most rigorously applied, the style of writing openly declares the fact. The twelfth toccata, in fact, is wholly built around the intensive exploitation of dissonance and delay, and belongs to the "durezze e legature" (harshness and suspensions) style already found in some works of the Neapolitan school. The work provides an example of the kind of experimental research in the field of harmony that is typical of the early Baroque.

The influence of the Venetian heritage is less evident in these toccatas, and is anyway to be sought more in the formal aspects of the works than in their musical content. In comparison with those of Merulo - the most illustrious of Frescobaldi's predecessors in terms of formal design - the toccatas of the first book lack that breadth of conception, that sense of a carefully planned formed design successfully carried through, that was one of the achievements of the Venetian school. In Frescobaldi the musical discourse appears extremely fragmented, the short, incisive phrases seem to be unable or unwilling to form a more complex whole, tending instead to an almost rhapsodic proliferation of new, contrasting ideas. Indeed, in the preface Al Lettore which appeared in the second edition (longer than that of the original 1615 edition, this preface remained unaltered in all the subsequent editions - the last was published in 1637 - except for a note referring to the Aggiunta inserted in it), the composer himself wrote: "In these toccatas I have taken care not only to ensure that they contain a wide variety of diverse passages and affects, but also to write in such a manner that each of these passages may be played on its own apart from the others, so that the performer is not obliged to finish the whole work, but may stop where he desires". The music, then, is divided into sections; despite this, however, Frescobaldi manages to achieve such a sense of completeness and perfection that we do not regret the absence of a broader formal conception. Every entry, every idea is immediately taken up and - with even a minimum of variation that seems to extend the principle of "diversity" to the most elementary levels of musical construction - thrown from part to part in a continuous play of echo and repetition. The principle of the juxtaposition of held chords in one hand and rapid figurations ("tirate") typical of the toccata in the other is still to be found in these works; but, while in the Venetian toccata this principle seems to constitute the very substance of the musical discourse, in Frescobaldi it remains exactly what it is: a simple theoretical model. The chordal writing no longer serves merely to support the other part (though this supporting role did not preclude the use of contrapuntal devices in the part-writing, especially in the works of Merulo), bus takes on a more complete role with surprises, unexpected changes and harmonic transformations. Rapid passage-work also takes on a new role in Frescobaldi: once the new spatial dimension on the keyboard had been conquered, there was no longer any need for concealment (which in the case of Merulo had produced figurations loaded with meaning). The scale now exists merely as a succession of notes, and as soon as a fragment of melody seems to recall the scale too explicitly, it is immediately broken off and given to the other parts to create a subtle interplay of imitations that banishes any sense of the mechanical. Scalework as such does not exist except as a shadow hidden in the infinite variety of lively, irregular figurations with their pointed rhythms and changing directions, at times constrained within the limits of an extended trill or double turn, that pursue one another freely and incessantly among the voices, devices that form one of the pecularities of Frescobaldi's "passaggiato" style.

With the exception of Toccata IX which, with its middle section in the style of a ricercar recalls the tripartite form much used by Merulo, the toccatas of this first book use an improvisational style that carefully alternates pure chordal writing, pseudo-scalic passages, "passaggi" and loose imitation, avoiding symmetry and regularity, and preventing the musical discourse from any tendency to mold itself over a wider span. This does not, however, prevent the composer from articulating the music in short sections, dividing the discourse into phrases by the use of clear-cut cadences which "deviate" the music towards poles of attraction other than the finalis of the home mode. Never, however, does the cadential pointing break the thread in any definitive manner, and it is difficult to judge the extent to which the passage from the Al Lettore quoted above and the one which follows do not, in fact, conceal a more than understandable utilitarian origin: "The separation and conclusion of the passages is signalled by the consonance of the two hands on a minim".

The history of Frescobaldi's toccatas does not finish with the second book: in addition to those contained in the Fiori musicali of 1635, there are a number of toccatas that have come down to us in manuscript form. In many ways, however, the toccatas that have been considered here bear exemplary testimony to the dual role that this genre of instrumental music assumed in the works of the master from Ferrara: at once at meeting point of the most significant experiences of the past, and the point of departure for those of both the immediate and the more distant future. The legacy of Frescobaldi reached beyond the generation of composers that immediately succeeded his own, to form a heritage that was to affect succeeding generations of cembalists and organists until it found its extreme, definitive synthesis in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach.

-Loris Azzaroni


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   1 01 Toccata Prima         0:08:17  
   1 02 Toccata Seconda         0:07:45  
   1 03 Toccata Terza         0:06:07  
   1 04 Toccata Quarta         0:06:40  
   1 05 Toccata Quinta         0:07:03  
   1 06 Toccata Sesta         0:08:24  
   1 07 Toccata Settima         0:07:41  
   1 08 Toccata Ottava         0:06:38  
   2 01 Toccata Nona         0:08:13  
   2 02 Toccata Decima         0:07:28  
   2 03 Toccata Undecima         0:08:48  
   2 04 Toccata Duodecima         0:06:21  
   2 05 Partite Sopra L'aria Della Romanesca         0:20:52  
   2 06 Partite Sopra Lamonicha         0:14:06  
   3 01 Partita Sopra Ruggiero         0:15:35  
   3 02 Partite Sopra Folia         0:10:27  
   3 03 Corrente Prima, Seconda, Terza, Quarta         0:05:05  
   3 04 Capriccio Sopra La Battaglia         0:03:34  
   3 05 Aggiunta - Prima Del Capriccio Sopra La Battaglia: Balletto I, II, III         0:09:54  
   3 06 Partite Cento Sopra Il Passachagli         0:15:33  
   3 07 Capriccio Fra'Jacopino Sopra L'aria Di Ruggiero         0:04:46  
   3 08 Balletto e Ciaccone         0:02:45  
   3 09 Capriccio Fatto Sopra La Pastorale         0:05:07  

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Последние изменения в документе сделаны 20/10/2016 22:07:04

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