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The Toccata Arpeggiata from Johann Kapsberger’s Book I (Venice, 1604). Performed on the theorbo by David Tayler. Live video from the SF based Early Music Ensemble Voices of Music, from the Great Artists Series 2012.
My reconstruction of the style of playing the lute in the first decade of the 17th century is based on a study of the many different musical genres from the time, including the keyboard and lute toccatas, the violin sonatas and the wide variety of vocal music, including the Littera Amorosa. Early keyboard and lute music reveals a dizzying array of arpeggiation patterns, with very few written-out works that use a relentless or uniform approach. Another feature of this early 17th century style is that the music almost always has contrasting sections, and this feature is present in both vocal and instrumental works. Chord patterns, arpeggios and melodic fragments are combined to form these sections, as well as provide small ritornellos. Echo, piano and forte effects, which were just starting to be used (Monteverdi, 1607) are added with gradations, within the small but present dynamic range of the lute.
Literary influences for my interpretation center around the poetical forms in vogue 1600-1610, including the sonnet and especially the freer and rhythmically complex form of Gabriello Chiabrera: rhymes, lines, line breaks and rhyming pattern are woven into the musical fabric.
Perhaps such a style must have existed in order for later composers to imitate it; there are many ways to interpret Kapsberger, and I hope to see many more versions by my colleagues.
Theorbo 82cm by Andreas von Holst, Munich.
#Kapsberger #Toccata #ToccataArpeggiata