Born in the northern city of Ferrara in 1583, Girolamo Frescobaldi was one of the most significant figures in Italian keyboard music before Domenico Scarlatti. Under the patronage of the Este family, Ferrara had developed into a major centre for the arts, especially the musical avant-garde, and Frescobaldi thrived in this exciting artistic firmament.
In 1608 he was promoted to the post of organist at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Here he was required to play at all the major religious ceremonies, and to provide organ improvisations as interludes in the Mass.
The Fiori Musicali or ‘musical flowers’ occupy a special place among his works. Published in 1635, they consist of three ‘organ Masses’. Designed for churches where there was an organ, but no choir, the organ would play the movements of the Mass in the form of toccatas, canzonas, recercars and so on, sometimes with plainchant provided by the priest.
The music is relatively simple to play compared with Frescobaldi’s other works for organ. No doubt he was thinking of country organists who were endowed with more modest abilities as musicians. That said, they are deeply felt and sincere works.
- Recorded in 2008, Volume 4 of Brilliant Classics’ Frescobaldi series.
- Already available: Vol. 1, 93767, Vol. 2, 93766, Vol. 3, 93780.
- Includes booklet notes written by Frescobaldi scholar Noel O’Regan.
- "The excellent Roberto Loreggian brings an attractive improvisatory quality to his playing" (Gramophone reviewing his Pasquini CD on Chandos).
- "I look forward to hearing the excellent Roberto Loreggian in other music" (Gramophone reviewing his recording of Marcello).