Some years ago during my Master research at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, I had the opportunity to access to a manuscript containing pieces composed by Neapolitan composers of the last years of the sixteenth century (Ms. GB-Lbl Add. 30491). I was struck by an exceptional musical writing, that showed traits of great originality alongside more conservative elements. At the time I held the impression that this provincial repertoire was typical of that region at that specific historical period. I did not have the opportunity to deepen its knowledge, restricting myself to an intuitive perception of its great originality and interest.
Then, at the end of my studies, I wanted to return to this repertoire that I felt enigmatic in some aspect. I decided to dedicate myself to this repertoire in a systematic manner in order to understand it deeply and try to resolve the emerging questions concerning performing practice. The result of this work is the recording of my first solo CD dedicated to Giovanni de Macque and the Neapolitan keyboard school at Gesualdo's court; it will be released in October 2014 on Brilliant Classics.
I began then a travel back in time into the past to discover and investigate more about the Renaissance repertoire for keyboard. I decided then to dedicate my whole activity of harpsichordist to this fascinating and not fully enhanced repertoire.
Now I decided to embrace a new challenge; the recording of Andrea Antico's « Frottole intabulate da sonare organi » (Rome,1517) and Marco Antonio Cavazzoni's « Recerchari Motetti Canzoni » (Venice, 1523). These two works are well known as the oldest Italian printed editions of a keyboard tablature. These collections represent some of the most important documents in keyboard literature of the early sixteenth century. For this recording I decided to use an Italian harpsichord, a copy after Alessandro Trasuntino (1531) and a polygonal Italian virginal, a copy after Domenico da Pesaro (ca. 1550), both build by the Italian harpsichord maker Roberto Livi.
Andrea Antico’s « Frottole Intabulate da Sonare Organi » not only is the earliest printed source of Italian keyboard music but it is the oldest printed volume to consist exclusively of keyboard music. The repertoire consists of keyboard arrangements of pieces drawn mostly from his frottola collections. Bartolomeo Tromboncino and Marchetto Cara, the two leading exponents of the frottola form, provide the majority of the vocal models. The term ‘organ’ in its title must be understood to mean keyboard instruments in general since the illustrated title-page depicts a harpsichord, played by Antico himself.
Marco Antonio Cavazzoni’s « Recerchari Motetti Canzoni » contains four canzoni and two ricercari, both followed by a motet. These ricercari are the first ones printed in Italy and destined to a keyboard instrument. These are the first autonomous instrumental works for keyboard not related to a vocal model.
The recording will take place in the beautiful church of San Giuseppe in Montevecchio di Pergola (Italy) which is located among the green and peaceful hills of the region of the ancient Montefeltro’s court; these are the same places that probably Andrea Antico and Marco Antonio Cavazzoni crossed during their travels. The recording will be made in the last week of August 2014 and the post-production (editing, mastering, liner notes, publicity) will last longer until the releasing of the CD, which is expected in 2015 on the Dutch label Brilliant Classics.