venerdì 17 aprile 2015

Alla Napoletana - Suonare e Cantare

22 tracks - MP3 192 Kbps - RAR 115 Mb

This programme is structured around the figure of Gian Domenico del Giovane da Nola (1510-1592), organist and later master of the church of the Annunciation in Naples. In addition to a number of madrigals and motets, he left us one of the richest and most typical collections of "Canzoni Villanesche" (1545). These "Canzoni Villanesche" (or "Napolitane") were songs on popular themes, originally written for three voices in the Neapolitan dialect. The texts are characterised by their burlesque or erotic inspiration, usually containing metaphors, popular proverbs, malicious or saucy puns, distorted words and various types of comical or meaningless onomatopoeia. The programme is enriched by a selection of varied instrumental pieces, featuring not only instruments that were fashionable during the Renaissance (recorders, post horns, reed instruments, violas, luths, guitars, percussions and bagpipes), but also typical Neapolitan instruments as "colascioni, tammorri, tromba degli zingari"

This disc appears in the series Les chants de la terre (Songs of the Earth) from France's Alpha label, which has previously featured ethnomusicological items such as music associated with the tarantella dance. The instrumental and voice production on this thoroughly enjoyable disc suggest folk music as well -- the singers throatily belt out their songs, and the instrumental texture, dominated by percussion and the buzzing chalumeaux and cornamuse, has plenty of noise. Yet the music actually comes from published sources -- a songbook from Naples in 1537 and various later collections of instrumental dances. The songs are still pretty funny at a distance of nearly 500 years. The villanesca and mascherata (or mask song) are both simple strophic song types familiar to those who've heard Jordi Savall's groundbreaking recordings of semi-popular Renaissance secular vocal music, but the French group Suonare e Cantare gives them a good deal more of the lowdown than Savall does. Its rough style is entirely appropriate to the texts of the songs, which might be said to puncture (or prick, to use a term these authors might have selected) the conventions of the courtly love song with raunch. Most of them open with a conventional stanza or two, inquiring about a woman's disfavor or offering, say, fine goods or instruction in a dance. Things go downhill from there ("For they are spindles from a certain land -- the more you spin them, the more they stay taut"); footnotes explain some of the more obscure references. The songs are interspersed with instrumental pieces, and the program as a whole has a high pitch of energy. Suonare e Cantare is coming at the semi-popular component of Renaissance music not from the elite direction but from the streets, so to speak, and the results are convincing. The tradition explored here had echoes in the tradition of secular polyphony, and several of the pieces here (check out Lasso's O belle fusa, track 2) represent an effort on the part of the players to imagine how nonliterate musicians might have realized polyphonic music -- something that, although not terribly common, is known to have occurred. It's Lasso like you've never heard him before, but like you should hear him at least once, for this music nicely illustrates the popular underpinnigs of the new genres of the late sixteenth century.


1. Piva
2. O Belle Fusa
3. Tri Cechi Siamo
4. Madonna Voi Me Fare
5. Pavana La Morte Della Ragione
6. Madonna Tu Mi Fai Lo Scorruciato
7. Schiarazula Marazual
8. Cingari Simo
9. Moresca 4a Detta La Bergamasca
10. Chi La Gagliarda
11. Gagliarda La Lavandara
12. O Quant'amore T'ho Portato
13. Calata Alla Spagnola
14. Le Fave Ch'o Chiantate
15. Madonna Non E Piu Lo Tiemp'antico
16. Medici Nui Siamo
17. Piva
18. Saltarello De La Preditta
19. Boccuccia D'uno Persico Aperturo
20. La Paduana Del Rey
21. Una Lampuca Ho Visto
22. La Lavandara Gagliarda

Suonare e Cantare

Jean Gaillard, Francoise Enock, Francisco Orozco


martedì 14 aprile 2015

Balbastre - Quatre Sonates

12 tracks - MP3 192 Kbps - RAR 101 Mb

Claude-Benigne Balbastre was a famed keyboard player who enjoyed much success in the salons and, among other things, invented a new harpsichord stop and a 'fortepiano organise', an instrument which allowed one to play the piano and the organ from the same keyboard.
The four sonatas on this disc were published in 1779 and are of the 'unaccompanied keyboard' type, which is to say they are essentially keyboard sonatas with more or less dispensable supporting parts for other instruments. It was a popular genre during the second half of the eighteenth century, especially in France where it was well suited to the demand for attractive, sociable music for amateurs to play. Often the accompaniment would comprise a violin or two and maybe a bass instrument, but Balbastre really pushes the boat out by including all of those plus ad lib parts for a pair of horns, and a charming and unusual combination it is too (though not, by the way, one unique to Balbastre). The keyboard instrument used here is a harpsichord, which seems right, even though the title-page offers the piano as an alternative; Balbastre was a protege of Rameau, and his style of keyboard writing owes more to the genteel rococo past than to the forward-looking, stormier piano style of some of his Parisian contemporaries.
The pieces themselves, like much French music of the time, are sweetly melodic with a delicious tendency towards touchingly tender minor-key melodies, and the performances here are thoroughly in keeping with the gently entertaining spirit of the music. Even if they are not always technically spot-on, they are happy additions to the catalogue of a company which is developing a welcome line in this kind of music.'  ---


Quatuor No.4, Op. 3
Quatuor No.3, Op. 3
Quatuor No.1, Op. 3
Quatuor No.2, Op. 3

Le Concerto Rococo

Jean-Patrice Brosse, harpsichord
Nicolas Mazzoleni, violin
Roberto Crisafulli, violin
Pietr, Dombrecht, horn
Claude Maury, horn
Antoine Ladrette, cello