Diego ORTIZ (c.1510-c.1570) Recercata Prima Sopra Un Tenore [2:02]; Recercata Seconda Sopra Un Tenore [1:23]; Recercata Terza Sopra Un Tenore [1:33]; Recercata Quarta Sopra Un Tenore [1:42]; Recercata Quinta Sopra Un Tenore [1:58]; Recercata Sesta Sopra Un Tenore [1:32]; Recercata Settima Sopra Un Tenore [1:35]; Recercata Ottava Sopra Un Tenore [2:39]; Quinta Pars Sopra Un Tenore [2:34]; O Felici Occhi Miei Di J. Arcadelt [1:45]
Jacques ARCADELT (1507-1568) Recercata Prima Sopra O Felici Occhi Miei [1:39]; Recercata Seconda Sopra O Felici Occhi Miei [1:38]; Recercata Terza Sopra O Felici Occhi Miei [1:45]; Recercata Quarta Sopra O Felici Occhi Miei [1:41]; Doulce Memoire Di Sandrin [2:48]
Pierre SANDRIN (1490-1561) Recercata Prima Sopra Doulce Memoire [2:25]; Recercata Seconda Sopra Doulce Memoire [2:37]; Recercata Prima Sopra Doulce Memoire [2:27]; Recercata Prima Sopra Doulce Memoire [2:12]; Recercata Prima [1:33]; Recercata Seconda [1:23]; Recercata Terza [1:20]; Recercata Quarta [1:11]; Recercata Prima Sopra Canto Piano [1:33]; Recercata Seconda Sopra Canto Piano [1:38]; Recercata Terza Sopra Canto Piano [1:56]; Recercata Quarta Sopra Canto Piano [1:49]; Recercata Quinta Sopra Canto Piano [1:15]; Recercata Sesta Sopra Canto Piano [1:16]
Silvestro GANASSI (1492-c.1550) Recerchar Primo Da Regola Rubertina [1:07]; Recerchar Secondo Da Regola Rubertina [0:44]; Recerchar Terzo Da Regola Rubertina [0:49]; Recerchar Quarto Da Regola Rubertina [1:34]; Recerchar Primo Da Lettione Seconda Cap. XV [0:59]; Recerchar Secondo Da Lettione Seconda Cap. XV [1:08]; Recerchar Primo Da Lettione Seconda Cap. XX [1:04]; Recerchar Secondo A Sola Voce Da Lettione Seconda [0:34]; Io Vorei Dio D'Amore [1:43]
Marcello Vargetto (bass); Alessandro Carmignani (alto)
Modo Antiquo (Andrea Perugi (harpsichord, organ); Daniele Poli, Gian Luca Lastraioli (lute, guitar)); Mya Fracassini (soprano); Paolo Fanciullacci (tenor); Bettina Hoffmann (viol (viola da gamba bassa e soprano)); Federico Maria Sardelli, Francesca Chiocci, Rosita Ippolito (viol (viola da gamba bassa)); Andrea Perugi (viol (viola da gamba contralto); Lisa Nocentini (viol (viola da gamba tenore e bassa)); Paolo Fanciullacci (viol , violone))
rec. June 1997, Oratorio di San Francesco Poverino, Firenze. DDD
Booklet in Italian, English, French
TACTUS TC 490701 [64.39]
It must be remembered that up until possibly the end of the 19th century many composers were first and foremost improvisers. They were admired world-wide as performers and only after that perhaps as composers. This was the case with Mozart and going further back into the 16th century it is even more so. But how did they improvise and what did they play? This disc gives the listener some insight. It is planned around three madrigals or songs. Arcadelt was one of the most popular and successful composers of the first half of the 16th Century. We here have four variants - the Spaniards of course called them ‘Diferencias’ - on his ’O felici occhi miei’ by Ortiz. We also hear the madrigal by Sandrin, a prolific but little performed Flemish composer of the same period. ‘Doulce memoire’ ends the CD. There’s also a song by Ganassi ‘Io varei Dio d’amore’ which, the notes tell us, is probably the only one to be accompanied solely by the gamba. There are, in addition various Recercatas (in various spellings) on harmonic patterns –nine by Ortiz ‘sopra tenores italiano’ and six on ‘sopra canti piano’ which Ortiz tells us was also known as ‘La Spagna’. All of this original material was well known at the time.
Silvestro di Ganassi dal Fontego, as the CD proclaims him, taught recorder and gamba. He published two treatises from which these pieces recorded are taken: ‘Lettione seconda’ of 1543 and ‘da Regola Rubertina’ of 1542. Diego Ortiz published a treatise of his own entitled 'Trattado di glossas' after he had left Spain for Italy (about 1553) in which he gives examples of diminutio or divisions. These sources are our aid to understanding the instrumental music of the period. The booklet essay by Bettina Hoffmann, who bears the main thrust of the performances on the viol da gamba, talks of them being “unique and invaluable”.
The instruments employed are gambas of various sizes, which are accompanied by a harpsichord or organ or sometimes a lute or chitterone. Each track is subtly varied so that the ear does not tire of one particular sound quality. The accompanying instrument is mostly reduced to the function of harmonic support. The solo instrument weaves a complex division, or ornamentation of the upper melody line just like a modern jazz artist.
Ortiz became the mastermind behind the whole concept of elaboration on madrigals in the form he called a ‘Ricercar’. The term is often said to mean ‘to search out’ and Ortiz and Ganassi do indeed delve into the melodic and harmonic implications behind the well known songs or tenor lines. The performances are quite magical and stylistically ideal. The instruments are described as “d’epoca”. The essay is interesting but there is no text in any language for the vocal items. The recording is excellent with space and clarity.

Gary Higginson

Quite magical and stylistically ideal ... see Full Review