Italian Contemporary Music for Harpsichord

Italian Contemporary Music for Harpsichord
Composer Carlo Galante, Ennio Morricone, Francesco Filidei
Artist Luca Quintavalle harpsichord
Format 2 CD
Cat. number 96408
EAN code 5028421964089
Release November 2021

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About this release

A banquet of first recordings, highly original works and composers little known outside their native Italy in a new recording by one of today’s most adventurous harpsichordists.

The neoclassical composers of 20s Paris were among the first to revive the harpsichord as a ‘modern’ instrument, inspired by the stirrings of the ‘early music’ movement in the hands of musicians such as Nadia Boulanger and Wanda Landowska. However, the postwar modernists found little use for it and only in the last few decades, not least thanks to the skill and imagination of virtuosos such as Elisabeth Chojnacka, Mahan Esfahani and Luca Quintavalle, has the harpsichord become once more as viable and respectable an instrument for new music as it was in the days of d’Anglebert and Couperin.

Indeed the earliest pieces on this survey of modern Italian music for the harpsichord date back to 1988: Mordenti and Neumi by Ennio Morricone, doyen of film and specifically spaghetti Western composers but whose training was thoroughly Classical. Formed of two interlocking chromatic canons, Mordenti in particular deserves wider attention. Plenty of other works here make play with the history of the instrument as well as its sonorities, such as Rumbling Gears, a hyperkinetic toccata by Sylvia Colasanti, and a Ricercare by Fabio Vacchi.

Scarlatti is the inspiration for another piece of Vacchi’s as well as an ornate elaboration of the same idiom by Jacopo Baboni Schilingi in Scarlet K141. The Petit Ordre by Carlo Galante explicitly returns to the world of Couperin but now tinged with modern Quando il passato era ancora presente by harmonies to evoke a lost world. There are several pieces from the last two years that inevitably reflect on the experience of solitude enforced by the pandemic, such as Short Stories by Vittorio Montalti and Leonardo Marino.

With a full introduction to all the works and composers on the album by Luca Quintavalle, the album makes an arresting introduction to the music of many composers otherwise hardly represented in the current catalogue, and a significant new volume in the library of harpsichord music.

This program presents a comprehensive overview of works by contemporary Italian composers played on the harpsichord, collected by Luca Quintavalle.
Included are pieces for harpsichord already composed but not yet recorded (Morricone, Fedele, Solbiati, Galante, Cacciatore and Marino), arrangements for harpsichord by the artist, with the consent of the composer (Vacchi, Francesconi, Filidei, Lanza, Solbiati, Gervasoni, Colasanti and Antonioni) and completely new pieces written for the artist (Vacchi, Colombo Taccani, Palumbo, Baboni Schilingi, Montalti, Capogrosso).
It is fascinating to witness the experiments of contemporary composers when writing for the harpsichord, this “ancient” instrument, nowadays mostly used for Renaissance/Baroque music, but proving to be an endless source of unheard-of sounds and timbres, affects and sonorities.
Luca Quintavalle is one of the most remarkable keyboard players of the moment. He has collaborated as a soloist with orchestras such as Concerto Köln, Les Talens Lyriques, Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble, Cappella Gabetta, Il Canto d’Orfeo, Harmonie Universelle, Divino Sospiro, Il Pomo d’Oro, Capella Augustina, La Folia Barockorchester, Kölner Kammerorchester, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and WDR Sinfonieorchester.
His first solo recording of Jean-Baptiste Barrière’s and Bernard de Bury's harpsichord music by the label Brilliant Classics was chosen as “Recording of the month” from MusicWeb International and got really positive reviews (“a great deal of excellent playing by Luca Quintavalle; enjoyable listening, which may be unreservedly recommended.” Early Music-Oxford Journal; “I don't expect this recording to be surpassed” American Record Guide. Recently he recorded the Piano Sonatas by Anton Eberl for Brilliant Classics, to great critical acclaim.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Francesco Filidei: Preludio
  2. Francesco Filidei: Filastrocca
  3. Ennio Morricone: Mordenti
  4. Maurilio Cacciatore: Toccatina
  5. Leonardo Marino: Quando il passato era ancora presente
  6. Ennio Morricone: Neumi
  7. Ivan Fedele: Suite francese: I. Preludio
  8. Ivan Fedele: Suite francese: II. Aria
  9. Ivan Fedele: Suite francese: III. Toccata
  10. Carlo Galante: Petit ordre: I. L’astrolabe
  11. Carlo Galante: Petit ordre: II. L’africaine
  12. Carlo Galante: Petit ordre: III. Air tendre
  13. Carlo Galante: Petit ordre: IV. Ciel du nord
  14. Alessandro Solbiati: Undici variazioni per Ruggero: I. Sereno, ritual
  15. Alessandro Solbiati: Undici variazioni per Ruggero: II. Con slancio e ritmo
  16. Alessandro Solbiati: Undici variazioni per Ruggero: III. Oscuro, meccanico
  17. Alessandro Solbiati: Undici variazioni per Ruggero: IV. Grandioso
  18. Alessandro Solbiati: Undici variazioni per Ruggero: V. Incalzante
  19. Alessandro Solbiati: Undici variazioni per Ruggero: VI. Danza
  20. Alessandro Solbiati: Undici variazioni per Ruggero: VII. Fluido
  21. Alessandro Solbiati: Undici variazioni per Ruggero: VIII. Lontano
  22. Alessandro Solbiati: Undici variazioni per Ruggero: IX. Presto
  23. Alessandro Solbiati: Undici variazioni per Ruggero: X. Dolce
  24. Alessandro Solbiati: Undici variazioni per Ruggero: XI. 6 variazioni sul Ruggiero
  25. Luca Francesconi: Mambo

Disk 2

  1. Silvia Colasanti: Rumbling gears
  2. Fabio Vacchi: Ricercare per clavicembalo
  3. Francesco Antonioni: Blues
  4. Giorgio Colombo Taccani: Giannizzeri e gendarme: I. Agitato
  5. Giorgio Colombo Taccani: Giannizzeri e gendarme: II. Ansioso, flessibile, non troppo lento
  6. Giorgio Colombo Taccani: Giannizzeri e gendarme: III. Austero
  7. Giorgio Colombo Taccani: Giannizzeri e gendarme: IV. Ostile, umorale
  8. Giorgio Colombo Taccani: Giannizzeri e gendarme: V. Ampio
  9. Giorgio Colombo Taccani: Giannizzeri e gendarme: VI. Agile, elastic
  10. Giorgio Colombo Taccani: Giannizzeri e gendarme: VII. Sereno
  11. Fabio Vacchi: 3 Post per Scarlatti: I. Sonata
  12. Fabio Vacchi: 3 Post per Scarlatti: II. Notturno
  13. Fabio Vacchi: 3 Post per Scarlatti: III. Presto volando
  14. Mauro Lanza: Chop Suey
  15. Vito Palumbo: Speaking
  16. Fabio Massimo Capogrosso: Techno Scene
  17. Vittorio Montalti: Short Stories for harpsichord and Electronics: I. —
  18. Vittorio Montalti: Short Stories for harpsichord and Electronics: II. —
  19. Vittorio Montalti: Short Stories for harpsichord and Electronics: III. —
  20. Vittorio Montalti: Short Stories for harpsichord and Electronics: IV. —
  21. Vittorio Montalti: Short Stories for harpsichord and Electronics: V. —
  22. Stefano Gervasoni: Suite préliminaire: I. Pré ludique
  23. Stefano Gervasoni: Suite préliminaire: II. Précieux
  24. Stefano Gervasoni: Suite préliminaire: III. Prétérit
  25. Stefano Gervasoni: Suite préliminaire: IV. Perniceux
  26. Stefano Gervasoni: Suite préliminaire: V. Prétentieux
  27. Stefano Gervasoni: Suite préliminaire: VI. Prémices
  28. Stefano Gervasoni: Suite préliminaire: VII. Prédicatif
  29. Jacopo Baboni Schilingi: Scarlet K141