Shopping Basket
Cat. No. CHAN 0665 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
CD Logo
CHAN 0665 - Croce: The Comic Faces of Giovanni Croce
Download Hi-Res Artwork
Download Booklet as a PDF
This product is also available as a download from
We are currently in the process of launching our new web site, until this goes live:
please order this CD directly from our sales team: (+44)01206 225200

Audio Sample

Available From: 12 February 2001
In sixteenth-century Venice entertainment music was a source of delight to all inhabitants of the city. During the carnival season Venetian nobility, merchants, and citizens enjoyed lively and often raucous entertainment at palaces, academies and civic pageants. This recording includes two sets of comic carnival masquerades by the Venetian composer Giovanni Croce.

Croce served as a singer in the Basilica of St Mark, the private chapel of the Duke of Venice. The basilica adjoins the ducal palace at the edge of the glittering Venetian lagoon, and an appointment there was one of the most prestigious in Europe. The musicians of St Mark’s formed a pool of composers, singers and instrumentalists who actively participated in local theatrical and entertainment enterprises in order to supplement their incomes. In the 1590s Croce was leader of the singing company at St Mark’s that was for hire. Since he enjoyed a lively reputation as a popular entertainer, it is likely that he and his company were the original performers of these masquerades.

Croce’s works are peopled with stock Italian masquerade characters, including the beloved, pompous Pantalone il magnifico and his sidekick Dr Graziano, a bumbling old Bolognese professor whose mispronounced words result in coarse gaffs. Shrill women, oafish foreigners, quarreling birds and men disguised as little boys join the cast, providing opportunities for horseplay among the singers. Comic dialects enhance the merriment of this mixture. The anonymous poets who wrote Croce’s masquerade texts contrived a wide range of accents and dialects for their characters in order to invite parody in performance. Foreigners with stereotypically thick accents bid at the Incanto della schiava, a parlour game in which female guests are auctioned off to the highest bidder. The utterance of Pantalone and Graziano are deliberately low-life in quality.

The plucked consort pieces serve as ‘curtain tunes’ and masque interludes to Croce’s carnival fare. The music has been transcribed and arranged principally from two books of guitar and cittern solos by Guillaume Morlaye (Paris 1552; 1553), and from Italian vocal miniatures. There are also some unusual and entertaining trios by the contemporaneous Paduan lutenist Giovanni Pacolini. Many of the shorter pieces are dances: galliards, passamezzos and a paduana. Some introduce Croce’s characters, such as the rustic line dance branle, which sets up the song of the farmers, and the ‘boufons’, which preludes the appearance of the buffoon Dr Graziano.

Croce has almost no representation on CD. In fact, there is only one other Croce recording listed in the international catalogue. Azzaiolo’s music, like Pacoloni’s whose instrumental music is here interspersed between the movements of Croce’s masquerades, remains unknown. This CD is one of the few available encounters with these composers and their irreverent style. This is the ultimate introduction to a segment of Venetian secular music during the Renaissance.

'One of the most exciting mixed vocal ensembles around at the moment rejoices in the name I Fagiolini - 'the little beans'. They are an irrepressible force in the Early Music world bringing bags of style, energy and dramatic excitement to everything they touch.'
International Record Review

‘Their intonation is as clean as glass.’
Luister on CHAN 0578

‘I Fagiolini [is] expertly balanced.’
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 0578

‘…this is a marvellously entertaining disc, cleverly kept together by some interpolated lute pieces, richly played.’
BBC Music Magazine

‘This disc hovers on the edge of high camp: that it doesn’t quite overstep the mark is due to the sheer quality of the singing and the fundamental seriousness of the group’s approach’.
Early Music News

‘I Fagiolini sketches with careful sensibility, assured sense of style and a fabulous feeling for sound.’
Fono Forum on CHAN 0578 (The Early Byrd)

‘’This is another triumph for the Chandos Chaconne label, which is fast becoming one of the very best early-music labels on the scene.’

‘…this release is a real blast! – definitely not for antiquarians only.’
American Record Guide


Home : Classical Music Special Offers [Competitions] : Search [Browse : Catalogue : Advanced] : Your Account
Contact [Email Us : Call Us : Write To Us] :
Help [Troubleshooting : How To Order : Music Licensing.]
: The Site Map : Web Links: Complete Listing
: :