GIROLAMO FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643)
Frescobaldi’s two books of toccatas (1615 and 1627) are among his most important collections. His toccatas could be used in masses and liturgical occasions. The Secondo Libro, written in 1627, stretches the conception of the genres included in the first book of toccatas. More variety is introduced with different rhythmic techniques and four organ pieces. The toccatas are written in a flamboyant improvisatory style and alternating fast-note runs or passaggi with more intimate and meditative parts, called affetti, plus short bursts of contrapunctal imitation.
Virtuosic techniques permeate the music – Toccata IX from Secondo libro di toccata bears an inscription by the composer: “Non senza fatiga si giunge al fine”, “Not without toil will you get to the end.” Such short remarks appear also in works from Fiori musicali; one of these refers to a fifth voice that is to be sung by the performer at key moments during a ricercar, and the key moments are left to the performer to find. Frescobaldi’s famous note for this piece is “Intendami chi puo che m’intend’ io” – “Understand me, [who can,] as long as I can understand myself”.
The concept is an illustration of Frescobaldi’s innovative, bold approach to composition.
Here we present Rosalinde Haas’ interpretation on her Sperrhake clavichord. The instrument was commissioned from Herr Doersch and his team at Sperrhake in 1984 – we asked for a clavichord with a single string per note and an extended range as close as possible to the range of a grand piano. We also asked for luting to be provided.
The recordings date from 2009 to 2012, when we recorded all of Frescobaldi’s Toccatas and excerpts of Fiori musicali on three instruments: harpsichord, clavichord and organ. We called the project “Frescobaldi cubed”. We are now reissuing the clavichord recordings on two CDs. CD 1 presents the First Book of Toccatas, CD2 the Second Book. We also include highlights from Fiori musicali.