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Girolamo FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643)
Arie, toccate e canzoni

Toccata per Spinettina e Violino
Aria a voce sola ‘Se l’aura spira’
Aria di Romanesca ‘Dunque dovrò’
Canzona: La Bernardina
Taccata tertii toni
Aria di Passacaglia ‘Così mi disprezzate?’
Canzon seconda
Sonetto spirituale: Maddalena alla Croce
Canzona: La Nicolina
Aspice Domine
Toccata nona
Canzona: La Bonuisia
Aria a voce sola ‘Se l’onde, ohime’
Canzona: La Tromboncina
Aria a voce sola ‘La mia pallida faccia’
Canzona: La Lucchesina
Corrente quarta
Aria a voce sola "A miei pianti’
Rec: May 2000, Länna Church, Sweden.
BIS CD-1166 [63.38]

This recording is a selection of works by Girolamo Frescobaldi, a pivotal Italian composer, at the junction between the renaissance and the baroque. The works included here are songs and instrumental pieces, for a variety of instruments. There is an overall "troubadour" sound in the music; the livelier songs have the dance rhythms of renaissance music as heard across Europe at the time, and, while they adopt the characteristics of the Italian idiom, they also sound very much like the music heard in Spain and Southern France in the same period.

Anthonello is a talented group of musicians, playing instruments including cornetto, recorder, viola da gamba, harpsichord, harp, theorbo and baroque guitar, as well as the magnificent soprano voice of Midori Suzuki. Each of the musicians has a chance to show their talents, since the various pieces here are almost all scored differently - there are songs where all the musicians are involved, as well as solos for almost all of them. This gives this disc the agreeable feeling of a recital, rather than a compendium of music.

However, the recording poses problems at times. The cornetto can be too present, to the detriment of the softer instruments, and, after a while, almost becomes grating. The harpsichord, on the other hand, is often relegated to the background. This uneven recording greatly detracts from the overall impression of this disc, especially since the instrumentation changes from one track to another.

Nevertheless, there is a wide variety of music here, and it is all performed with great talent. From the songs with soprano Midori Suzuki, such as Se l’aura spira, with its plaintive melodies, to the solo works, such as the haunting, melancholy harp solo, Toccata tertii toni, or the plaintive harpsichord piece, Toccata nona, that recalls the keyboard music of William Byrd, this recording shows the variety of music composed by Frescobaldi. All of the musicians are excellent, and the diverse instrumentation adds to the experience.

This is a very interesting recording, featuring a wide variety of works and instrumentations. With the diversity of a recital, this disc will delight all those who enjoy Italian renaissance music.

Kirk McElhearn

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