Giovanni Maria Trabaci is certainly not the best-known name to emerge out of the music of the Italian Renaissance. However, his wealth of compositions constitute a veritable treasure trove, with a vast repertoire spanning sacred masses, secular vocal works and an astonishing 165 works for keyboard. This recording brings together the best of his music for organ and harpsichord, showcasing Trabaci’s masterful use of counterpoint and extraordinary inventiveness.
The compositions featured here are remarkable for their decidedly modern characteristics. His bold use of chromaticism and thematic transformation, particularly in the toccatas, foreshadow Frescobaldi and distinguish Trabaci as a leading light of his day. The composer’s forward-looking approach is also present in his ricercares and canzonas, where his taste for dissonant harmony and carefully crafted melodic shapes come to the fore. Despite an influence of folk music, Trabaci’s compositional style remains highly original: indeed, the two collections featured here, from 1603 and 1615, are characterised by their bold and daring approach.
Organist and early music specialist Francesco Cera is expertly placed to record Trabaci’s music. Grounding his performance in extensive historical research, Cera succeeds in creating an authentic yet decidedly sensitive interpretation, using a preserved organ and a copy of a 17th-century harpsichord to attain the sound typical of the composer’s day. Previously praised for his ‘impeccable interpretative command’ (Amadeus), Cera regularly appears on Brilliant Classics, and lends an assured and authoritative touch to early keyboard music, creating a highly pleasurable experience for listeners.
- Recorded in 2014.
- Giovanni Maria Trabaci lived from 1575 till 1647. A highly prolific composer he left a vast oeuvre of vocal and instrumental music. Especially his works for keyboard are important: his bold, forward looking style, full of daring chromatisms and unexpected harmonic turns, have paved the way for Frescobaldi and others.
- Francesco Cera plays a selection of Ricercares, Canzonas and Capriccii on this new recording. Cera is the ideal advocate of this highly original music: he knows the style inside out, and has the right dramatic approach, using a magnificent harpsichord built by Roberto Livi, as well as the historic organ built in 1570, in the Church of Sant’Antonio, Salandra, Italy.
- The booklet contains interesting information on the instruments, liner notes and the artist biography.