Frescobaldi was the most influential composer for keyboard in Italy prior to Domenico Scarlatti. Bach copied out Frescobaldi’s Fiori Musicali, and he was also a strong influence on Fux and Buxtehude. His reputation has been slow to gain its rightful status over the past century or so. This edition provides a superb opportunity to discover this neglected master of the Baroque.
This is the fifth and final volume in the Ligia series of the complete keyboard music of Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583–1643). Previous volumes reviewed in Fanfare include the Primo libro di capricci and Secondo libro di toccate (both 34:2), and the Primo libro di toccate (34:6). The present volume includes published collections from the beginning, middle, and end of Frescobaldi’s career. The Primo libro delle fantasie was published while the composer was still in Milan; it served as a kind of audition piece that eventually won him the position of organist at St. Peter’s in Rome.
The attribution of works to Benvenuto di Giovanni and his son Girolamo di Benvenuto is problematic and is complicated by the fact that the two undoubtedly collaborated on several works. Focusing on two paintings in the Museum’s collection, the authors reexamine attributions to these artists and compare the paintings to work in other collections in the United States.
From Frescobaldi's collections published between 1615 and 1637 Gustav Leonhardt has chosen ten works illustrating six of the classes of composition Frescobaldi cultivated: four toccatas, two partitas, a canzona, a ricercar, a Magnificat, and a capriccio. He performs six pieces on the organ and the other four on the harpsichord.
Leonhardt shows himself here to be a superb musician, both technically and temperamentally. He has taken almost infinite pains to achieve convincing and appropriate phrasing and articulation. When the music should be slow, he plays it slowly; but when it should not, he usually adopts very brisk tempos.
The Second Book [of toccatas] was composed 12 years after the first, in 1627, when Frescobaldi was at the height of his creative powers and indeed his prestige: he was organist at the then-largest church in the world, the Roman Basilica of St Peter. (brilliantclassics.com)