Colin Booth records a selection of Frescobaldi’s keyboard music as it may have been heard in a typical music room of his time, with the player moving from harpsichord to small organ* as the music suggests itself more suitable for one than the other. The organ used is a small, two-stop instrument by Robin Jennings and the harpsichord is Booth's copy of an anonymous Italian instrument, thought to date from around 1600 or perhaps rather later and in the collection of the Germanisches Museum, Nuremberg. The harpsichord is rare among Italian instruments in having two keyboards: the lower keyboard has the 8’ strings and the upper keyboard has the 4’ strings, making for some fascinating sonorities.
Toccata 1 (Book I)
Capriccio on La Bassa Fiammenga*
Toccata 8 (Book I)
Capriccio on L’Aria Or chè noi rimena
Toccata 5 (Book II)*
Partite (Variations) on L’Aria della Romanesca
Toccata 11 (Book I)*
Variations on L’Aria detto Balletto
Toccata 7 (Book II)
Capriccio on La, Sol, Fa, Mi, Re, Ut
Writes BBC Magazine:
Booth builds fine harpsichords, here a rare Italian copy, with exceptionally diverse colours, exhaustively revealed in some striking variations. Meantone tuning creates spine-chilling passing dissonance, delicious sonority in repose. Scholarly approaches to fingering, pitch, and tempo are enriched by expressive playing. Warmly recommended.
Writes Early Music Review:
I'd go so far as to say that this is one of the best Frescobaldi recordings I've heard, from the point of view of both the playing (which is excellent) and the harpsichord (which is fascinating). A super disc - intelligent interpretations, organological interest, and great music.