The Medici Harpsichord Book (DXL 1083)



The Library of the Florence Conservatory of Music contains a little manuscript book, which has until now remained almost entirely overlooked.  Handsomely bound in leather with guilded edges, the manuscript names no composer, but the gold embossed emblem on the cover points to a Grand Duke of Tuscany as its one-time owner but the other plausible candidate is Prince Ferdinando de Medici (1673-1713), known to have studied both composition and harpsichord.
Inside are fifteen pieces grouped into four suites and among them are several preludes, toccatas that passacaglias, and a number of tuneful dance pieces, all called Aria alla francese.
This disc also features the other world premiere recordings and presents the works of Giovanni Battista Martini, who was scarcely less celebrated than Luigi Rossi had been a century earlier.  Manuel Blasco de Nebra and Antonio Soler take us far from Martini’s sophisticated counterpoint and Bolognese polish to a proud and fiery music.  Soler’s Fandango shows little of the composure one might expect from a scholar-priest. Inspired by the virtuoso dance improvisations of Andalusian gypsy guitar players, it is one of the more remarkable compositions of the entire eighteenth-century keyboard literature.

Track List:

Luigi Rossi
1) Passacaille

Giovanni de Macque
2) Gagliarda prima
3) Gagliarda seconda
4) Ricercare del sesto tono con tre fughe e suoi riversi (Secondo libro de ricercari)

Francesco Lambardi
5) Toccata

Ferdinando de Medici
6) Preludio cantabile con ligature
7) Passagagli pastorali
8) Aria alla francese
9) Aria alla francese
10) Preludio di botte, acciachature, e ligature
11) Aria alla francese
12) Tochata
13) Aria alla francese
14) Preludio
15) Aria alla francese
16) Tochata
17) Passagagli
18) Alemanda
19) Preludio cantabile con ligature
20) Aria alla francese

Giovanni Battista Martini
21–25) Sonata III: Preludio / Allegro / Adagio / Gavotta / Corrente – Canon ad diapason intensum

Manuel Blasco de Nebra
26-28) Pastorela IV: Adagio / Pastorela / Minuet

Antonio Soler Ramos
29) Fandango

This delightful album by Aapo Hakkinen features the long neglected collection of harpsichord music and highlights the works of Ferdinando de Medici, recorded here for the very first time together with other world premiere recordings.

“A beguiling mixture of brilliance and substance”
Nottingham Evening Post

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