Corradini: 12 Ricercari & Vendi: Canzoni

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This new recording presents Corradini’s ricercars – which cover the full range of twelve church modes. They are based on multiple themes (called fughe, or fuguesl, a technique also employed, for example, in Giovanni Maria Trabaci’s Ricercate) and containing a number of themes, varying from 2 to 5.

Composers: Mattia Vendi, Nicolò Corradini
Artist: Federico Del Sordo (organ & harpsichord)

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Biographical information on NicoloÌ Corradini is scarce, but we do know he spent most of his life in Cremona, the city where he was most likely born. His works include a Book of Madrigals for 5 to 8 voices with viol consort (published in Venice in 1620), the First Book of French Canzoni (Venice, 1620), Motets for 1 to 4 voices (Bartolomeo Magni, Venice, 1624) and the 4-voice Ricercari recorded here, from 1615. The only surviving copy of this latter collection – held at the International Museum and Library of Music of Bologna – is missing its frontispiece and colophon, but according to Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini it was printed, like his Motets, in Venice by Bartolomeo Magni. This is the only set of Corradini’s music that fully lends itself to performance by a solo keyboard player, as the Canzoni are clearly better suited to a group of multiple instruments.

Each of Corradini’s ricercars – which cover the full range of 12 church modes – is based on multiple themes (called fughe). This polythematism keeps hearers of these grandiose musical paintings intrigued with a variety that – while clearly based on the architecture of the 16th-century choral motet – at times goes beyond it in a way more akin to fugues of the early 18th century, decades ahead of his time.

Alongside Corradini’s ricercars, Federico del Sordo showcases canzoni written by a composer named Vendi that were found in the manuscript SPBK Mus. ms. 40615 at the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. Much about the life of this author is still uncertain. In the Berlin manuscript his name is sometimes preceded by the abbreviation ‘Fr.’, which could be either for a first given name like Francesco, or for ‘Frate’ meaning Friar. And what appears to be his given name is also always abbreviated Maa. or Mat., which could be for Matteo or Mattia. Vendi’s canzoni are less complex than those of Merulo or Frescobaldi, instead possessing a transparency seen, for example, in the compositions of Agostino Soderini, active in Milan in the same period. They are clear examples of compositions not based on vocal models and can therefore be dated to around the 1610s or 1620s.

Nicolò Corradini:
00:00:00 Ricercar del primo tuono. Di quattro fughe
00:04:51 Ricercar del secondo tuono. Di due fughe
00:08:04 Ricercar del terzo tuono. Di quattro fughe

Mattia Vendi:
00:12:43 Canzon III toni
00:15:18 Canzon II toni

Nicolò Corradini:
00:17:05 Ricercar del quarto tuono. Di quattro fughe
00:21:54 Ricercar del quinto tuono. Di quattro fughe
00:27:00 Ricercar del sesto tuono. Di due fughe

Mattia Vendi:
00:31:27 Canzon II toni
00:33:39 Canzon VII toni

Nicolò Corradini:
00:35:33 Ricercar del settimo tuono. Di quattro fughe
00:39:56 Ricercar del ottavo tuono. Di cinque fughe

Mattia Vendi:
00:43:20 Canzon I toni
00:45:51 Canzon VIII toni

Nicolò Corradini:
00:47:59 Ricercar del nono tuono. Con tre fughe
00:52:31 Ricercar del decimo tuono. Con tre fughe
00:56:17 Ricercar del undecimo tuono. Con tre fughe
01:00:27 Ricercar del duodecimo tuono. Di quattro fughe

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