Seven Toccatas

Libro Terzo d'Intavolatura di Chitaronne

Composer Players Instrument Notation Period
Kapsberger, Giovanni Girolamo (1580-1651) solo lute tablature Renaissance

Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (c. 1580-1651) was the pre-eminent player of the chitaronne in Rome at the turn of the 17th century. The instrument that he wrote for had 19 courses and a tuning pattern that makes the music much less accessible for guitarists than that of the Renaissance lute. The Norwegian player Rolf Lislevand, who has recorded and performed Kapsberger?s music, has described him as ??easily recognizable in that his works are lacking in the qualities that generally characterize a good composer." Much of Kapsberger?s music can be difficult to grasp. It sometimes tends to wander without apparent structure or destination. It is first and foremost a performer?s music ? a framework to fill out with all of the vitality and expression player can bring to bear. Only a few years ago the third volume of Kapsberger?s chitaronne music, previously believed to have been lost, was acquired by the Gilmore Library at Yale University. It is a revelation! Having read through all of his lute and chitaronne music I believe that the Toccatas in this volume are of a far higher quality than those that came before or after. There is organization, more coherence of ideas in each piece, and clearer and more fully worked out counterpoint. I have transcribed for six string Renaissance lute seven of the Toccatas.

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