Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


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14 Silver Strings; Toccatas, Partitas and Dances
Johannes Hieronymus (Giovanni Girolamo) KAPSBERGER (1575-1661).
Toccata IX (1640) [2.00]
Toccata X (1640) [2.09]
Passacaglia in a (1640) [4.23]
Canzone Prima (1640) [5.00]
Ballo Primo: Uscita (1640) [1.06]; Ballo [1.13]; Gagliarda [1.43]; Corrente [1.48]
Pasacaglia in d minor (1640) [5.15]
Toccata II (1640) [3.42]
"Kapsberger" (1640) [4.42]
Arppeggiata (1604) [2.48]
Canario (1640) [3.24]
Alessandro PICCININI (1566-1638)

Toccata XIII (1623) [3.23]
Partite variate sopra la folia aria Romanesca (1623) [4.55]
Toccata III (1623) [3.54]
Gagliarda Prima (1623) [1.46]
Toccata VI (1623) [3.18]
Partite variate sopra quest’aria francese detta l’Alemana (1623) [5.05]
Crrente VI sopra l’Alemana (1623) [1.55]
Toccata X (1623) [2.41]
Matthew Wadsworth, theorbo;
Gary Cooper, harpsichord, organ; Mark Levy, Viola da gamba, lirone, violone
Recorded at the National Center for Early Music, York, UK. June 2002
The back of the jewelcase bears a note in Braille which reads: MAT[THE]W WADSWR[TH] MUSIC BY KAPSB[ER]G[ER] [AND] PI[CON][IN][IN]I
Notes in English, Deutsch, Français
DEUX-ELLES DXL1044 [67.00]

These composers will be new to most people. A hindrance to appreciating their work is that they felt no obligation to write out complete performing versions of their music, leaving it to the artist to fill in a great deal with improvisation. It takes a great artist to fill this role, and such an artist is Matthew Wadsworth. He studied lute at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Nigel North. Upon graduation in 1997 he won an award for the development of a system of Braille lute tablature. His long meditative improvised arpeggiated phrases are utterly captivating and revive the lost spirit of medieval mysticism. Students of Eastern and Western meditation disciplines may find this recording of interest.

He is joined on this recording by one Gary Cooper who studied organ and harpsichord at Chetham’s school of music and at New College, Oxford, and has probably never handled a six-shooter in his life. Currently director of Kent Opera, he has also produced many solo recordings of virtuoso keyboard repertoire.

Mark Levy studied at Cambridge, King’s College, and the Royal Conservatory in the Hague, and has specialised in the viol family of instruments since his teenage years. He also studied with Andrew Manze had played with The Cambridge Musick, and now with his own ensemble, Concordia.

It is a pity all the superlatives I know have already been used, because I need a new one for this disk. The magic that these artists are able to accomplish together is all but indescribable. With the organ often carrying the high notes, they join to produce a unique and utterly captivating rich, abdominal growl. The music sounds much like Frescobaldi, consisting of long lushly arpeggiated chordal preludes over organ and viol pedal tones, often followed by passacaglias with the sound of harpsichord and lute joining in the ever increasing energy of the filigree. The last item on the disk is a long round every bit worthy of the great fandangos of Soler and Boccherini.

In the photograph of this ensemble in the program booklet, the organ is seen to be a small portatif, but the violone and theorbo lute are of enormous size, dwarfing their players. It takes the high ceiling of a medieval cloister to accommodate these instruments.

This recording is from a high definition master and therefore may be available on SACD or DVD-Audio in the future. But don’t wait, buy it now. You’ll be glad you did.

Paul Shoemaker

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