Viaggio Musicale - Italian Music of the 17th Century


Containing some two dozen tracks of pieces by largely lesser known composers from the early Baroque, this release on Teldec's Das Alte Werk imprint is fittingly titled Viaggio Musicale (Musical Journey). It's performed by one of Italy's pioneering early music ensembles, Il Giardino Armonico, a period instrument group specializing in 17th and 18th century Italian music. Teldec's engineers have provided Il Giardino Armonico with sumptuous sonics for this recording made in March of 2000 at the Chiesa di San Giorgio, a 6th-century church located in the Swiss Alps.

All of the music on this anthology comes from Italy during the first half of the 17th century. The earliest pieces were first performed in 1607, the time when Monteverdi's Orfeo was receiving its premiere performances, and the latest are by Marco Uccellini written in 1645. Almost all of them are trio sonatas, with two solo soprano instruments - violins, flutes, cornetti or any combination of these - and basso continuo. It's quite a varied program, offering a broad spectrum of colors, textures and styles. Composers represented include Tarquinio Merula, Dario Castello, Giovanni Battista Spadi, Giagio Marini, Francesco Rognoni and Giovanni Paolo Cima as well as a few more recognizable names: Rossi, Uccellini and a brief work by Monteverdi. I've provided two tracks from the album. The first is a beautiful example of a Sinfonia in eco by Salomone Rossi (1570-1630) for two cornetti harp and organ and the second is by Franceso Rognoni (died before 1626) for violin and lute. The second track of the album is Ciaccona by Tarquinio Merula (c.1594-1665) and you can listen to it in the video below.

The Das Alte Werk line of the Teldec label celebrated its fiftieth year in 2008. In the early years, with the signing of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gustav Leonhardt and Franz Bruggen, Das Alte Werk was instrumental in forging a path for the burgeoning authentic performance practice. With Teldec now under the Warner Classics banner (as well as Erato and EMI), I believe we can look forward to many more fascinating reissues like this splendid recording.