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Juan CABANILES (1664 - 1712)
Tientos y Passacailles

Tiento 7° tono por Alamire [6.16]
Pasacalles de 1º tono [4.45]
Corrente Italiana [4.04]
Tiento 1° tono en tersio a modo de Italia [3.17]
Duo "El galán que ronda las calles" al Santísimo Sacramento, a 2 (SS) y continuo [5.14]
Tiento 2° tono, portido de dos Tiples por G sol re ut [6.50]
Tiento Lleno 5° tono por B quadrado [2.30]
Tocata de mano Izquierda 5° tono [2.24]
Tiento de falças, 1° tono [3.21]
Pasacalles de 3ro tono [6.09] [strings]
Tiento Lleno de 1° tono [8.01]
Gallardas de 1° tono [6.22]
Pasacalles de 4° tono [1.58]
Villancico "Mortales que amáis", tono al Santísimo Sacramento, a 4 (SSAT) y continuo [6.28]
Pasacalles de 1° tono [2.09]
Tiento Lleno 2° tono 3.59]
Maria Pilar Burgos, Beatriz Gimeno, sopranos; Susana Cabrero, contralto; José Pizarro, tenor; Pablo Prieto, Eduardo Fenoll, violins; Pedro Reula, viola dagamba; Jesús Alonso, theorbo.
Jan Willem Jansen, organ. [Fifteenth century, restored 1992.]
Los Musicos de su Alteza/Luis Antonio Gonzáles, harpsichord and leader
Recorded at the church of San Pablo, Zaragoza, Spain, 1998.
Notes in Français and English. Texts in Castellano, French translations. Photos of artists.
EDITION HORTUS 013 [75.05]


The "passacalle" is a Spanish form, coming from passer calle, meaning "to walk down the street". There is only one instrument you can easily play while walking down the street, and that is the guitar, therefore the passacalle has been represented mostly by guitar and hence imitative harpsichord pieces. But harpsichord pieces can also be played on the organ, so Bach’s great work for pedal harpsichord, BWV 582, is most often now played on the organ although to hear it played by a guitar quartet, as I have, is truly a revelation. It takes on some of the air of a bistro in Madrid late at night. Try it, you’ll like it.

But, back to Cabaniles, his pieces are often found included in anthologies; this is the first disk I have seen devoted entirely to his music. So instead of a small sample of his most characteristic style, we have a chance to study his compositional output in some depth. The tientos are "essays" (Carlos Surinach wrote Tientos and Samuel Barber wrote Essays for Orchestra.) and the form is not that different from the Elizabethan fantasia, a sort of improvisation on a musical phrase obeying its own internal rules. The passacalles are variations in the higher voices over a repeated motif in the bass, another form very popular in early English music, indeed all music, early and more recent. Passacaglias have also shown up in the Shostakovich Violin Concerto #1 and the William Schuman Symphony #3. It is easy to believe, on the evidence presented here, that the Spanish musicians who would have come to England with Catharine of Aragon must have had a greater influence on the forms of Elizabethan keyboard music that I would previously have thought.

This disk is a box of candy for enthusiasts of Spanish organ sound — I should say for French enthusiasts of Spanish organs because all the descriptions of the organ are printed in French only. A Dutch organist writing about a Spanish organ in French? Perhaps Editions Hortus would favour us by posting translations of the notes in Spanish and English on their web-site.[many of their CD issues do have English translations- LM]

Only two tracks have vocal contributions, sung with great beauty and enthusiasm by the ensemble, accompanied by a continuo of cello and harpsichord. One track is a passacalle played entirely by strings. The remaining tracks are all played on the organ with great virtuosity and spirit and with brilliant and interesting registrations making good but not overwhelming use of the reed and trumpet stops; it appears that Cabaniles, in contrast to some of his contemporaries, was not all that fond of them.

The CD sound is extremely clear and in your surround sound decoder gives you a realistic re-construction of the acoustic of the church in your listening space.

Paul Shoemaker

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