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The MHS Review 377 VOL. 10, NO. 17 • 1986

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Alison Melville Continuo (Summer 1986)


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Fiori Concertati includes works representing three centers of Italian musical activity in the early 1600s: Venice is formidably represented by Dario Castello, Naples by Andrea Falconieri, and Rome by Johann Kapsberger. Side one features the music of Castello, a musician at St. Mark's about whom not a great deal is known but who was a most influ­ential figure, and whose name is more familiar than most musicians of his time to modern audiences. Selections consist of one solo sonata, one trio sonata, and two sonatas a 4 from his publications of 1627 and 1629. Side two includes various works by Falconieri, a lute­nist and composer. Falconieri's suc­cessful experimentation with the expansion of traditional ostinato forms can be heard here in his Passacaglia a 3 and Folias a 3. Kaps­berger, a German lutenist and com­poser who lived in Rome from 1604 until his death in 1651 and was a champion of the newly invented chitarrone, is represented by his Toccato e ballo for chitarrone and organ.

Musicalische Compagney has won a favorable reputation in Europe and the United States, and deservedly so. Its five members perform on cornetto, violin, dulcian, organ, and chitarrone, and they include a musicologist (Holger Eichorn, on cornetto), instrument maker (Bernhard Junghaenel dulcian, brother to lutenist Konrad as far as I know), and lutenist (Stephen Stubbs, who is well-know to audiences across Europe an North America). Their playing individually and as an ensemble, polished and fluent, and reveals the pleasure they take in the music. The use of chitarrone, organ, an dulcian as the continuo band is marvelous one, though sadly it is not often heard in concerts.

Several recordings of this type repertoire are available, including performances by Concerto Castello the New London Consort, and Tafelmusik, and this particular album stands up very well in comparison. Castello's Sonata 2 is rendered bot here and by Tafelmusik (Collegium 82-02). The two versions are equally delightful, but very different in interpretation, revealing the music creativity required for excellent an convincing performances of this music. Musicalische Compagney has provided us with a wonderful and well-produced record of music the performers clearly enjoy to great degree.

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