The trio sonata was one of the baroque period’s most popular instrumental forms. While in its ‘classic’ form it features two higher-pitched instruments, a melodic bass instrument and basso continuo, there were several others, including a popular variant for one high-pitched instrument, one bass instrument and continuo chosen by a substantial number of composers in the 17th century and beyond and resulting in a significant number of compositions. In this setup, the writing for the melody instrument is more virtuosic than in a ‘conventional’ trio sonata, and it performs more of a solo role, unlike in the trio sonata, where it is more of a first among equals. At the same time, the bass instrument is used idiomatically instead of being relegated to a mere basso continuo. This contributed greatly to bolstering its role as a solo instrument, and it was given ever greater prominence as the second half of the 17th century progressed.
From the numerous Italian composers who wrote for this genre, for this album Mvsica Perdvta have selected the two who had the greatest influence on the establishment and development of chamber music: Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583–1643) and Dario Castello (1602–31). The first edition of Frescobaldi’s Canzoni da sonare a uno, due, tre e quattro, published in Rome in 1628 (and later republished in a slightly different version in Venice in 1634) sits chronologically between the two books of Castello’s Sonate concertate in stil moderno, published in Venice in 1621 and 1629 respectively. While Frescobaldi’s canzoni can be considered the culmination of a genre that was already in decline, Castello ushered in a form that, evolving through countless different variants, would for centuries remain the leading chamber music genre. Castello’s style is faithful to the promise of its title: it still sounds very ‘modern’ for its time, especially when – as in this album – it is paired with the oeuvre of Frescobaldi, the epitome of the instrumental canzona. Completing the CD is a short work by Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (Venice, c.1580 – Rome, 1651), the only sonata that the composer known as the ‘Tedesco della tiorba’, or ‘German of the theorbo’, wrote for this ensemble, taken from Il primo libro di Sinfonie a quattro con il basso continuo (Rome 1615).
The sonata à tre was one of the most typical instrumental forms of the Baroque era. While in its 'classical' form it calls for two treble instruments combined with a melodic bass instrument and basso continuo, it had several 'variants' in the ensemble, including the one for treble instrument, bass instrument and continuo, which was very popular. In this formation, to which a substantial number of composers (not only of the 17th century) dedicated an important number of compositions, the part of the treble instrument presents a more virtuosic and soloistic writing than that of the 'conventional' trio sonata. At the same time, the bass instrument, not reduced to the sole function of basso continuo, is treated as an equal melodic counterpart. This new recording presents the two composers who most influenced the birth and development of instrumental 'chamber' music, namely Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643) and Dario Castello (1602-1631). Whereas Frescobaldi represents the pinnacle of an older style, the works of Castello look forward and form the basis of the chamber music style of centuries to come.
The soloist of this recording is David Brutti, playing the Cornetto, a hybrid instrument with the fingerholes of a woodwind and a brass-type mouthpiece. Renato Criscuolo plays the bass violin, and the organ or harpsichord is played by Nicola Lamon.
Recorded July 2022 in Trevi, Italy.
Booklet in English and Italian contains liner notes by Renato Criscuolo.