Le tue note altere […]
Tal del ciel nei volumi impresse anch’elle
Sembran muti caratteri lucenti
E le glorie di Dio narran le stelle
Pier Francesco Paoli da Pesaro “In lode dell’autore” in: Girolamo Frescobaldi. Il Secondo Libro di Toccate […]. In Roma, da Niccolò Borbone, 1637
Girolamo Frescobaldi was born in Ferrara in 1583. A virtuous organist, he was one of the greatest keyboard composers of the first half of the seventeenth century and a fundamental figure in the history of music: together with Giovanni Gabrieli and Claudio Monteverdi he is considered the creator of the new musical language of the Baroque age. He was the first important European composer to focus on instrumental music: his surviving keyboard works exceed those of any predecessor or contemporary. He composed almost every type of keyboard composition known in that period.
From Luzzasco Luzzaschi he learned to play the organ and to write madrigals. When only fourteen he was already a prodigious organist and moved first to Rome and then to Brussels. Here he met the great Nordic keyboard virtuosos, fans of the Italian madrigal; right from here Frescobaldi elaborated the sounds of baroque modernity from the basis of the musical heritage of the Italian Renaissance, melding the Ferrara tradition, the influence of composers from the north with the stimuli from Naples. He obtained fame and a general recognition to such an extent that Jakob Froberger – the greatest seventeenth-century harpsichordist – in 1637 asked the Vienna court, where he was on duty, for a license to travel to Rome and study with Frescobaldi. Through the hands of Froberger, Girolamo’s innovations reached France and Germany and spread all around the middle of the century and anyone who did not play his style was not considered and appreciated. A few decades later the young Johann Sebastian Bach would have copied in his own hand the Fiori Musicali (1635), which the sum of frescobaldian art is enclosed in. Much later, on the beginning of the twentieth century, Guido Chigi Saracini, in his research of the roots of Italian instrumental music, would have found the “our Bach” in the two books by Toccate di Frescobaldi.
The Second Book of Toccate (first edition, Rome, 1627) belongs to this epochal renewa: presented in the dedication, by the same author, as a model of a Nuova Maniera (New Way). These Toccatas of the Second Book, that reach a richness and expressiveness never reached before, are bulit and organized on thin but strong structural bases. The ninth, for example, represents one of the vertices of frescobaldian production, (even for the difficulty of execution: “Non senza fatiga si giunge al fine”): it consists of variations set where Frescobaldi disintegrated the musical texture: the process of fragmenting into short sections contrasting each other in style, meter and time, characterised by an harmonic unpredictability reahced here his peak.
We present here the second edition (1637) in a copy in contemporary binding: is similar to the first, except for the deletion of the last four pages (the variations on Ciaccona and Passacaglia). The OPAC SBN catalog records its presence only in seven Italian libraries.
GIROLAMO FRESCOBALDI. Il secondo libro di toccate canzone versi d’hinni Magnificat gagliarde correnti et altre partite d’intavolatura di cimbalo et organo di Girolamo Frescobaldi organista in S. Pietro di Roma. In Roma con licenza de Superiori, da Nicolò Borbone, 1637, in-folio, leg. coeva in piena pergamena floscia… [read the complete description]