Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Buy through MusicWeb for £10.50 postage paid World-Wide.

Musicweb Purchase button


Giovanni Girolami KAPSBERGER (1580-1651)
Libro Secondo d’Arie - Songs of Human and Divine Love (1623): Voi, che dietro a fallaci [3.28]; Alma che fai che pensi [3.17]; Tu dormi [2.00]; Pargoletto son io [2.31]; I’vo piangendo I miei [5.08]; Dulcissimo Signore [4.30]; T’inaspri á miei lamenti [2.52]; Dunque con stile lieto [2.15]; Pietea di chi si more [2.40]; Popol diletta mio [1.55]; Ancora il Re nasce piangendo in terra [5.13]; O come in van credei [3.18]; Perché pieta [2.19]; Corrente (1628) [2.45]
Bellerofonte CASTOLDI (b. 1622) Sonata 2a [1.36]; Mustazzin corrente [1.30];
ANON (b. c.1620) Canzona [2.30]; Toccata [1.55]
Gian Paolo Fagotto (tenor); Janet Youngsdahl (soprano); Julie Harris (soprano); Paul Grindley (bass)
Victor Coelho (archlute; theorbo); David Dolata (theorbo); Neil Cockburn (harpsichord)
Il Furioso/Victor Coelho
rec. Wyatt Recital Hall, Mount Royal College, Calgary, Alberta, 3-7 June 2004.
TOCCATA TOCC 0027 [54.07]

Experience Classicsonline


When do you think baroque music, as we now call it, actually started? A daft question you might say but what about 1605, the date of Monteverdi’s 5th Book of madrigals? Why? The book starts in what is known as the style antico but by the end we have come ‘up to date’. Instrumental parts like the basso continuo become obligatory for the last six pieces. Gradually in his remaining books the idea of an aria being accompanied by written out instrumental sections becomes standard. There’s only a fine line that separates Arias as here from Madrigals. By 1623, the date of Kapsberger’s book, recorded here, this format was fairly commonplace - on the continent anyway. With one voice or possibly two, more dramatic word-setting is possible. Kapsberger’s vocal music has been little acclaimed but his lute music is available on disc. This disc undoubtedly helps to redress the balance.

Who was Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger? His biography can be briefly summed up as of German extraction but born in Venice. He was one of the most successful musicians of his generation, both as a performer on the lute and theorbo and as composer. He ended up working for Pope Urban VIII in Rome. His output covers all genres including Mass settings. His reputation waned after his death and has remained in obscurity until relatively recent times.

Kapsberger’s style is mostly highly ornamental and recitativic, demanding vocal agility and virtuosity of his performers. In addition he requires that very rare creature, a basso profundo. We have one here in the shape of the Canadian Paul Grindley. This singer opens the disc and at first my heart sank at what I felt was too doleful a tone. However it didn’t take me long to ‘acclimatise’ and indeed really enjoy his contribution. Of the sopranos I rather prefer the lighter Julie Harris who, sadly, is only allocated three works here. Generally speaking I like the singers who capture the challenges and beauties convincingly. The instrumental work is, I feel, exemplary and I like the subtle changes of instrumentation within the arias, especially the sometimes sudden removal of the harpsichord leaving the archlute dramatically alone.

The excellent booklet essay by Victor Coelho, who also leads the group Il Furioso points out that the vocal items as recorded can be divided into three sections as follows: Tracks 1-7 (texts spoken by God to the sinner), tracks 8-12 (The lamenting Magdalene), tracks 13-19, (Moses and other voices of the prophets). He also explains that this is not the way the ‘arias’ were presented in the original publication. Indeed the entire book has not been recorded: five pieces are missing. A curious anomaly, you might think, especially as the disc runs in at less than an hour. However Coelho explains that he wanted to record "those pieces which stand out from a musical and literally stand-point". Also he wanted "to record all of the duets and also works which offered technical challenges, especially textual ones".

And what texts too! Kapsberger tackles some difficult, thought-provoking and yes, deeply philosophical poems by men of the calibre of Petrarch. Others are by lesser-known figures, Gabriello Chiabrera (1619) and Giambattista Marino (1614). An example of the mood of the words can be summed up in ‘Tu dormi’: "You sleep, my soul/You sleep, alas, and don’t hear God’s high and just words / How will you suffer, cruel heart / Who in vain calls one who is dying for you". Especially striking is the last aria, a duet, with its everlasting cry of "Why are my long suffering / And my fervent prayers / Denied mercy?"

Variety is achieved within the disc by first having a different voice or group of voices perform each song and secondly by interspersing the vocal items with contemporary solo lute pieces - a very happy mix.

I would like to congratulate Toccata as this is as good a recording of early music as I have ever heard. The small instrumental group are widely, but naturally, spaced across the stereo picture, superbly balanced and wonderfully clear. The vocalists are placed centre-stage. The bass notes ring out with true ambience, and the theorbo and archlute are recorded intimately so that every note is clear, but not unnaturally so.

It’s true that this music is a curious by-way of the early baroque. Nevertheless Kapsberger is worth investigating and I think that he should rank as an especially significant figure. Let’s hope for more.

Gary Higginson





Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.