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Sergio Vartolo - Michelangelo Rossi: Toccatas and Correnti (2005)

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Sergio Vartolo - Michelangelo Rossi: Toccatas and Correnti (2005)

Sergio Vartolo - Michelangelo Rossi: Toccatas and Correnti (2005)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 475 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 184 Mb | Artwork included
Classical, Baroque | Label: Naxos | # 8.557321 | Time: 01:19:29

Although the Italian composer, Michelangelo Rossi, was hailed in his lifetime as a violin virtuoso, a distinguished madrigalist and composer of two operas, his reputation is founded on his astonishingly original and technically advanced keyboard music. Rossi’s Toccatas and Correnti combine Frescobaldi’s mastery of counterpoint with the chromaticism and sudden modulations of Gesualdo and Sigismondo d’India, resulting in a very personal idiom. This is most clearly heard in Toccata Settima, the best known of Rossi’s keyboard works, which has tremendous energy and drama, and concludes with an extraordinary passage of rising and falling chromatic scales.

As the liner notes to this release containing the complete published keyboard music of Michelangelo Rossi (1602–1656) focus solely on the works and their publication, a brief biographical word would seem warranted. He was the son of the Genoese violinist Carlo Rossi, and became, for a time, the assistant to his uncle, a Servite friar and principal organist at the San Lorenzo cathedral. Rossi moved to Rome in 1624, where his teacher and friend was the illustrious Frescobaldi. Within a few years, Rossi’s talents began attracting attention, and his aristocratic patrons included at various points the powerful Barberini family in Rome, the Estes in Modena, and the Sforzas in Ferrara. Rossi’s later activities have proven difficult to track; until the record of his burial was discovered in the 1970s, it was even thought that he continued working as late as 1670 in Faenza. To be a respected and performed composer in the Italian states during Rossi’s lifetime meant writing vocal music. Noble courts conceived of choirs as international status symbols, and vied for the services of good singers. Salaries were high, and diplomatic representatives weren’t above bribing vocalists to change masters. Rossi wrote madrigals and a pair of operas; he also received the nickname “Michelangelo del Violino” for his virtuosic skills on the violin. But his keyboard works arguably give us the composer’s inspiration in its purest form, being created for performance by himself—and of course, those aristocratic amateurs lucky enough to purchase a copy of his music.

Rossi favored the sudden chromatic shifts of d’India, whom he met in 1624 (while both musicians were in the service of Cardinal Maurenzio of Savoy), and Molinaro, maestro di cappella at the cathedral where his uncle served. His other major influence was Frescobaldi, whose freely expressive toccatas and contrapuntally elaborate canzoni formed the basis for Rossi’s own multimovement, often manneristic toccatas. The corrente, by comparison, was an extremely popular dance form of the early 17th century in syncopated triple time. I agree with Vartolo, who considers Rossi’s correnti as masterpieces of the genre—though he finds the inevitable link back to Frescobaldi, while I note a similarity to Molinaro’s complex but ethereal lute works. The harpsichordist quotes Frescobaldi as writing that he requires “the manner of playing with cantabile effects and with a diversity of passages” which “must not be subject to the beat.” This is appropriate not only to Frescobaldi’s own keyboard works but to Rossi’s toccatas, and Vartolo follows its dictates. His technique is excellent, as is his comprehension of each toccata’s shape, and his ability to convey that through broad variations in tempo, phrasing, and dramatic rests. The correnti are treated less boldly, but still delivered with a flexibility that points to their origins among dances for listening entertainment.

Though published originally as Toccate e Correnti d’Intavolatura d’organo e cembalo, Vartolo performs everything here on the harpsichord. Mention is made on the back of the jewel box of “period instruments” without any further information, other than the use of A=415Hz and the application of meantone tuning. I assume Vartolo preferred the crispness of the harpsichord’s sound and its sharp attack, though he doesn’t comment on this in his otherwise first-rate liner notes. These content themselves with a review of the differences among the four surviving copies of Rossi’s work, his keyboard compositional style, and a consideration of the notational curiosities in each piece.

The sound quality is bright and forward, with perhaps a touch too much mechanism at times. All in all, highly recommended, and a worthy successor to Vartolo’s two-CD set of Frescobaldi (Naxos 8.553547–48).

Review by Barry Brenesal, FANFARE


Sergio Vartolo - Michelangelo Rossi: Toccatas and Correnti (2005)



Sergio Vartolo - Michelangelo Rossi: Toccatas and Correnti (2005)



Sergio Vartolo (harpsichord)
rec. June 2003, Fumano, Italy.

Tracklist:

Michelangelo ROSSI (1602-1656)

Toccata e Correnti d'Intavolatura d'organo e cembalo

01. Toccata I (5:32)
02. Toccata II (5:38)
03. Toccata III (6:05)
04. Toccata IV (6:15)
05. Toccata V (7:52)
06. Toccata VI (5:23)
07. Toccata VII (6:06)
08. Toccata VIII (6:38)
09. Toccata IX (6:08)
10. Toccata X (8:59)
11. Corrente I (1:05)
12. Corrente II (1:25)
13. Corrente III (1:34)
14. Corrente IV (1:11)
15. Corrente V (0:58)
16. Corrente VI (1:27)
17. Corrente VII (1:15)
18. Corrente VIII (1:17)
19. Corrente IX (2:45)
20. Corrente X (1:55)


Exact Audio Copy V1.1 from 23. June 2015

EAC extraction logfile from 26. March 2017, 22:17

Sergio Vartolo / Rossi - Toccate e Correnti d'Intavolatura d'organo e cembalo

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Range status and errors

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Peak level 99.9 %
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Test CRC 2532827D
Copy CRC 2532827D
Copy OK

No errors occurred


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End of status report

==== Log checksum E4B3F4612657D2965F4A43EB0041F132509DAC967786E47D50F97F9762945414 ====

foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2018-03-22 02:48:26

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Analyzed: Sergio Vartolo / Rossi - Toccate e Correnti d'Intavolatura d'organo e cembalo
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
DR12 -3.58 dB -19.58 dB 5:32 01-Toccata I
DR11 -1.98 dB -17.55 dB 5:38 02-Toccata II
DR12 -1.15 dB -17.75 dB 6:05 03-Toccata III
DR12 -1.95 dB -18.87 dB 6:15 04-Toccata IV
DR13 -0.49 dB -18.33 dB 7:52 05-Toccata V
DR13 -2.49 dB -19.26 dB 5:23 06-Toccata VI
DR12 -2.48 dB -18.29 dB 6:06 07-Toccata VII
DR12 0.00 dB -16.25 dB 6:38 08-Toccata VIII
DR13 -1.51 dB -19.57 dB 6:08 09-Toccata IX
DR13 -0.23 dB -17.42 dB 8:59 10-Toccata X
DR11 -4.05 dB -18.27 dB 1:05 11-Corrente I
DR12 -3.45 dB -18.85 dB 1:25 12-Corrente II
DR12 -1.41 dB -16.21 dB 1:34 13-Corrente III
DR12 -2.35 dB -16.66 dB 1:11 14-Corrente IV
DR12 -1.05 dB -16.52 dB 0:58 15-Corrente V
DR12 -2.78 dB -17.49 dB 1:27 16-Corrente VI
DR11 -1.04 dB -15.88 dB 1:15 17-Corrente VII
DR12 -2.78 dB -16.59 dB 1:17 18-Corrente VIII
DR12 -2.09 dB -16.13 dB 2:45 19-Corrente IX
DR11 -2.64 dB -16.13 dB 1:55 20-Corrente X
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Number of tracks: 20
Official DR value: DR12

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 831 kbps
Codec: FLAC
================================================================================

Sergio Vartolo - Michelangelo Rossi: Toccatas and Correnti (2005)