"Nowadays prudence resides in a double identity" (P. Rossi, 1657). Il Fasolo? Manelli? A single composer could be hidden behind these two names. The exceptionally rich and varied works (festive songs for the Venetian Carnival, Bergamask dances, Chaconnes….) of the composer(s) 'Il Fasolo' constitute an enigma in the history of Italian music.
Le Poeme Harmonique
Vincent Dumestre, colascione, theorbe, guitare baroque & direction
Participation au madrigal O dolorosa sorte :
Damien Guillon, alto
Anne Marie Lasla, Claire Gautrot, basse de viole
Enregistre en juin 2001 a Paris
a la chapelle de l'hopital Notre-Dame de Bon Secours
More imaginative re-creations of 'lost' works blended into a convincing recital from this exciting French ensemble... This CD recreates music that lies only just within the shadows of musicological research. For one thing, the identity of 'Il Fasolo' is uncertain; for another, most of 'his' music (assuming only one person was involved) was deemed almost entirely lost until the recovery of a manuscript copy (in score) of a single print; finally, what does survive draws heavily on popular idioms... They make a convincing programme from what might appear a hotch-potch of different materials. Commedia dell' Arte personages, popular, carnivalesque creatures mingle with lovers' laments replete with pathos (the latter, by Benedetto Ferrari, beautifully interpreted by Claire Lefilliatre); food and wine are fulsomely extolled, and there is time for a more learned chrom-atic madrigal (by Pallavicino) from the four vocalists, discreetly accompanied. All this shows off the ensemble's dexterity and versatility...Having reviewed three discs from this ensemble in close succession, I must confess to being seriously impressed. Catch them now, and watch this space."
- Fabrice Fitch, Gramophone
Here the European period-instrument ensemble Le Poeme Harmonique offers a program devoted to another of those arguably unjustly-neglected composers who occasionally turn up on concerts and on disc-and in our reviews. This time it's the very obscure, early-17th-century Italian guitarist/composer known today only by his pseudonym Il Fasolo (the bean). In the liner notes Jean-Francois Lattarico warns that this Il Fasolo should not necessarily be confused with Giovanni Battista Fasolo or Il Fasolo-Manelli (two other composer/musicians active around the same time) regardless of evidence that both confirms and denies Il Fasolo's relationship to each-and hence the question mark in the program's title. Surely a fascinating musicological mystery!
Though Italian, Il Fasolo clearly drew significant inspiration from neighbouring Spain. For instance, like his Spanish contemporary Santiago de Murcia, Il Fasolo was a virtuoso guitarist, and the instrument and related members of its family often play a predominant role in his works. For instance, in the lovely Jacara (a Spanish term characterizing loud, high-spirited groups who walk about at night singing), the guitar's pensive opening gradually accelerates, guiding the tempo and dynamic level of the percussion and vocalists. The opening La Barchetta passaggiera (Passengers on the small boat), Bacco (Bacchus), Primo Interlocutore (First Interlocutor), and Ballo di 3 Zoppi (Dance of the three cripples) also sport remarkably progressive guitar chord structures that anticipate Kapsberger's later, more famous books of d'intavolatura di chitarrone. Performing on a variety of strummed and plucked instruments, Jean-Luc Tamby and the group's director Vincent Dumestre expertly render Il Fasolo's innovative and colorful writing.
Though they occasionally incorporate operatic gestures, Il Fasolo's vocal works are predominantly rooted in the Mediterranean folk tradition of carnival or street songs. The vocal works included here are strictly secular and feature an array of diverse and often-extreme subject matter-and all receive appropriately spirited solo and choral performances. Soprano Claire Lefilliatre and tenor Bruno Bonhoure's portrayal of departing yet resolute lovers in Il carro di Madama Lucia (Madama Lucia's Carnival float) is especially moving. By way of contrast, later in the program the brief choral ballet Mentre per bizzaria (While bizarrely), with its waves of percussion, is equally memorable. Alpha's extravagant presentation, extensive notes, and first-rate sound are complementary icing on the cake.
-John Greene (ClassicsToday.com)