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Cat. No. CHAN 0651 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 0651 - The Purcell Quartet - Capriccio Stravagante, Vol. 1
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Available From: 19 October 2000
In quantity and quality the 1620s represents a high point in Italian instrumental music. Or more precisely, Northern Italian, for, despite the amazing diversity, most of these composers were natives of a remarkably confined geographical area – Turini and Marini from Brescia, Farina and Buonamente from Mantua, and Merula from Cremona – a radius of about 50 miles. As it happens, during the 1620s all but Turini took the common career route to an Italianate court north of the Alps – Carlo Farina to Dresden, Biagio Marini to Neuberg, Giovanni Battista Buonamente to Vienna, and Tarquino Merula to the Polish Court, although all had returned by 1631. Giovanni Picchi and Dario Castello in Venice may well have felt themselves somewhat apart as it was the Venetians who generally set the trends. The success of Castello’s Sonate concertante (1621, 1629) no doubt prompted Merula to borrow the title for his Libro terzo in 1637, and la Cattarina actually borrows the opening of a canzona by Gabrieli. Nevertheless, Castello’s Book 2 was dedicated to Emperor Ferdinand II, Buonomente’s patron, suggesting that they shared common aspirations of employment.

Regional factors are paramount in Italian instrumental music. Frescobaldi’s Primo libro delle canzoni (1628), although written in Rome, betrays his Ferrarese origins, but with many adaptations to local conditions. His keyboard style also blended northern influences with elements of the Roman and Neapolitan schools.

The virtuosic violin writing of Farina and Marini was the most advanced of its day. Farina’s Capriccio stravagante (1627) uses such violinistic tricks as col legno, sul ponticello, glissando and multiple stopping to depict the barking of dogs and meowing of cats.

‘The playing is infectiously uninhibited and technically immaculate – a programme of unqualified pleasure’.
BBC Music Magazine

‘…this release brings nothing but pleasure both in the music and the stylish and lively performances of all involved.’
Gramophone on CHAN 0653 (Bach)

‘…order this at once… a strong recommendation.’
Early Music Review on CHAN 0646 (Weckmann)

‘These are clean-cut highly enjoyable performances.’
The Guardian on CHAN 0641 (Bach)


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