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Amours, Zéphyrs and Sirènes
Marcello UCELLINI (1603-1680) Aria decimal terza Sopra ‘Questa Bella Sirena’, (1645)
Bellerofonte CASTALDI (1580/1-1649) Sonata 7
Tarquino MERULA (1595-1665) Chiacona a 3, (1637)
Girolamo FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643) Canzona quinta detta ‘La Tromboncina’, (1628)
Andrea FALCONIERI (1585-1656) La Gioiosa fantasia, (1650)
Giovanni BASSANO (c.1558-1656) Suzanne un jour (1591), after Rolande de Lassus
Bellerofonte CASTALDI (1580/1-1649) Sonata 5
Salmone ROSSI (1570-1649) Sonate Duodecima, sopra ‘La Bergamasca’
Giovanni CIMA (1570-after 11622) Sonata a 3, (1610)
after Cipriano de RORE (1515/16-1665) Anchor che col partire
Giovanni Battista BUONAMENTE (died 1642) Sonata Decima, sopra ‘Cavaletto zoppo’ (1628)
Girolamo FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643) Toccata cromatica per l’Elevazione (1635)
Bartolomeo d SELMA Y SALAVERDE (died 1638) Vestiva i colli (1638), after Palestrina
Andrea FALCONIERI (1585-1656) Bayle de los dichos Diablos (1650)
Girolamo FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643) Canzon decimaterza ditto ‘La Bianchina’ (1628)
Salmone ROSSI (1570-1649) Sinfonia a 3 (1608)
Bellerofonte CASTALDI (1580/1-1649) Ritornello primo
Giovanni Battista BUONAMENTE (died 1642) Gagliarda Decima (1626)
Andrea FALCONIERI (1585-1656) Fantasia Padre Falla (1650)
Andrea FALCONIERI (1585-1656) Folias echa para mi senora dona Tarolilla de Caralenos (1650)
La Turbulente
(Susi Möhlmeier (flutes/recorders), Frédérique Thouvenot (flutes/recorders), Claire Giardelli (cello and piccolo violoncello), Mirella Giardelli (harpsichord and organ), Pascal Monteilhet (theorbo and archlute))
Recorded October 2002 in Olivier Messiaen Hall, Grenoble
NAÏVE E 8884 [55.06]


On the Ensemble Unicorn’s disc Raphael (1483-1520) Music of his Time the majority of the composers included are of Northern European extraction, even though they were all working at the Italian courts. On this disc, covering Italian instrumental music from a century later (1580 to 1650), the composers are all Italians. Much had happened in the intervening period. The development of the Italian madrigal by native Italian composers would lead to the creation of opera and much else besides.

La Turbulente are a young French group consisting of two flutes, cello, harpsichord/organ and theorbo/archlute and they were founded in 1989 by the two flute players. For this recital they trace the burgeoning independence of instrumental music. From being simply instrumental transcriptions of vocal works, instrumental pieces gradually take on a life of their own. Parallel to this development was the development of the seconda prattica, in which the text was paramount and this text was carried by a few melody lines supported harmonically as opposed to the older prima prattica which consisted of equal voices in counterpoint. This emphasis on melody and harmony meant that instrumental music could develop in its own right. Instruments could take the vocal forms and expand them rather than simply providing a sometimes unsatisfactory transcription of vocal polyphony.

The period covered by this recital was decided by the range of publications, starting with Bassano’s Ricercated, passaggi e cadentie published in Venice in 1685 and ending with Andrea Falconieri’s Primo libro di canzoni, sinfonie, fantasie printed in Naples in 1650.

As the form developed, with pieces for one or two instruments supported by chordal harmony predominating, so instrumentalists were able to begin to experiment with the deployment of virtuoso elements. In the version of the madrigal by Cipriano de Rore, ‘Ancor che col partire’, La Turbulente perform the piece with their own variations (diminutions) as would have happened at the time.

The recital is not organised in a strictly chronological manner, so once has a nice variety of types of piece and speeds. For me, the most outstanding ones were the livelier, toe-tapping numbers such as Merula’s ‘Chiacona a 3’ and Rossi’s ‘Sonata Duodecima sopra La Bergamasca’. The chaconne form (as used here by Merula) and pieces based on a dance theme (such as La Bergamasca or La Follia) are both quite common as they enable the instrumentalists to create or improvise melodic and rhythmical variations.

Also included on the disc are pieces which foreshadow the 18th century trio sonata. Cima’s ‘Sonata a tre’, which lays out two treble parts over an articulate and complex bass, is remarkable for its early date (1610).

With such a small group of instruments at their disposal, La Turbulente manage to deploy a remarkably variety of timbres and textures. The ensemble plays all these pieces in a lively and infectious manner. The flute/recorder players produce some lovely haunting tone in the slower pieces. But the combination of the temperament used, the flautists tendency to approach notes from below and their letting long notes droop, means that the tuning sometimes takes a little getting used to. But on the whole this is a highly recommendable disc.

Robert Hugill

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