Giacomo GORZANIS (c.1525-c.1575)
La Barca del mio Amore - Napolitane, Balli e
Fantasie: from Il primo libro di napolitana (1570), Il secondo libro delle napolitana (1571), Il secondo libro de intabulatura di liuto (1562), Il terzo libro de intabolatura di liuto (1564) and Opera nova de lauto … libro quarto (1579)
Details after review
La Lyra [Pino De Vittorio (voice, nacchere), Fabio Accurso (lute,
colascione, drum), Domen Marinčič (viola da gamba), Massimiliano Dragoni
(percussion, hammered dulcimer)]/Bor Zuljan (lute, renaissance guitar)
rec. 30 October – 2 November 2017, Vila Vipolže (Slovenia). DDD.
Tuned in equal temperament.
Texts and translations included.
Reviewed as mp3 press preview.
I must admit that I had never even heard of the blind composer Giacomo
Gorzanis, though his lute music and villanelle have apparently
become well known in his native Italy, the former especially as performed
on the guitar. The vocal music included here has a rather rough, folksy
quality, certainly as sung by Pino de Vittorio, while the instrumental music performed on the
lute and renaissance guitar has the sophistication that you would expect of
Italian music of the period.
To the best of my knowledge this is the first album devoted to both aspects
of Gorzanis’ music, though there’s a CD of his lute music, released by
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi in 2017 (88985374332 -
review), and individual pieces occur
elsewhere. The title piece of the new CD, in alternative spelling as La barcha del moi amore, opens a recording from Hesperion XXI and
Jordi Savall. That, as you might expect, receives a livelier approach which
I prefer to La Lyra’s rather more sophisticated performance.
I did, however, like the way in which this instrumental piece segues neatly
into the final vocal work on the Arcana recording, Il bel viso e gli begli occhi,
which itself receives, appropriately, a more sedate performance than the
rest of the vocal music. The beautiful face and beautiful eyes referred to
in the song
bring death to the living and life to the dead, thereby lending an appropriate
dying fall to the programme.
Elsewhere, too, de Vittorio is capable of varying his normally forthright
style to suit the words, as in Chiara più che’l chiara sol (track
8). The forthright performance of Sta vecchia canaruta (track 12),
on the other hand, clearly conveys the singer’s curse on the old harridan whose
malicious gossip has turned his girlfriend away from him.
Bor Zuljan’s performance of Recercar secondo (track 7) has a more
tentative, exploratory feel than that of Michele Carreca on Deutsche
Harmonia Mundi. The same is true of Recercar primo (track 18).
Though the term refers to various kinds of composition, the basic meaning
of ricercar or recercar derives from an Italian verb meaning
to try out or experiment and that’s exactly what Zuljan's performance conveys.
On an album entitled La Serenissima II: Lute Music in Venice 1550-1600, Jakob Lindberg
performs four pieces by Gorzanis. If anything, his performance of one of the Recercars conveys even more than Zuljan’s the basic nature of the
work. This BIS recording would be worth having for the Gorzanis pieces
alone, but the rest of the programme is also desireable, much of it
by unjustly neglected composers of the time as well as the better-known
Canova da Milano (BIS-CD-599). The performances are all that we have come
to expect of Lindberg; it’s available on CD or as a lossless download with
pdf booklet from
Incidentally, I’m currently enjoying and putting together a review of
Lindberg’s most recent recording, of music from Dowland to Britten,
including a transcription for lute of Britten’s Dowland-inspired guitar
piece Nocturnal. Due for release on SACD in July 2018, it’s already
available to download in mp3, 16- and 24-bit sound from
eclassical.com, the latter at 192kHz instead of the usual 96kHz, and in surround sound too
On the subject of other recent and pending releases of renaissance music,
Arcana have also produced a recording of the 4-, 5- and 6-part madrigals of
Luca Marenzio (1553-1599). Though he’s better served than he used to be on
record, this would make a useful introduction to his music now that the
excellent Glossa series with La Compagnia del Madrigale seems to have
stalled after two CDs (GCD922802 –
Recording of the Month
– GCD922804 –
review). Initial impressions of the singing of RossoPorpora directed by Walter
Testolin encourage me to plan a review of this too, either on its own or as
part of my next roundup of Second Thoughts and Short Reviews. (Arcana
A449, L’Amoroso & cruda stile [79:30], heard as streamed with
pdf booklet from
Naxos Music Library).
Meanwhile the new Arcana release – the recording debut of La Lyra and Bor
Zuljan, I believe – makes a strong and enjoyable case for the vocal and
instrumental music of Gorzanis. I was surprised to note that they tune in
equal temperament, which they justify as having been employed in music of
this period more often than is usually believed.
My press preview came in mp3, so I can’t
form a conclusive judgement of the recording, but it sounds well enough,
even so, for me to suppose that the CD and better-quality downloads will
sound fine. I do wish the Outhere group would supply lossless
previews: it’s especially galling to see that the tracks are labelled ‘HD’
though they are cut down to mp3 quality. Please let us have them without being
cut down: it’s pretty fair to assume that serious reviewers will be able to
play the full-strength originals. The notes in the booklet, by lute
specialist Dinko Fabris, are helpful and informative.
Da che si part’il sol
Scarpello si vedrà
Duca vi voglio dir
Basciami con ssa bocca
Saltarello detto Sona Baloni
Questi capelli d’or
Chiara più che ’l chiar sol
Passo e mezzo Antico Primo
Padoana del detto
Saltarel del detto
Sta vecchia canaruta
L’altro giorno mi disse
Passo e mezzo detto Il Gorzanis
Saltarel del detto
Non è amor
Alma perché t’affliggi
La barca del mio amore
Il bel vis’e i begl’occhi