Frescobaldi: Canzonas a4 for Four-part Instrumental Ensemble… Vol II…

Edited by Friedrich Cerha.
Diletto Musicale (DM 1452) Doblinger, 2014.
36pp + five parts, £21.50.

This volume contains nos. V-X. Nos V & VI are Sopra Rugier and Sopra Romanesca, neither of them strictly ground basses. The other items are merely numbered 7-10. These six items were preceded by a group of 4, due Canti e due Bassi. Frescobaldi took great care as always to produce mostly contrapuntal sections in duple time, but some of the triple sections are chordal. In my earlier days, I enjoyed playing a variety of such pieces on viols in the 1960s, and I probably moved down to continuo playing in the 1970s with violin-family instruments – whichever scoring was played, I enjoyed. My older copies are probably now passed on to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, where a lot of my music now resides, though currently they are temporarily in storage. The Bc part is clearly for a chordal realisation, so the score is all that is needed – this isn’t music to be conducted, but there would be some benefit if the continuo part had additional figuring.

Original clefs Clefs of the Edition
V: G2 C2 C3 F4 (Bc F3/C3) Tr Tr A B (Bc is inF4 in all pieces)
VI: C1 C3 C4 F4 (Bc F4) Tr Tr A B
VII: C1 C3 C4 F4 (Bc F4/C4) Tr A A B
VIII: C1 C3 C4 F4 (Bc F4/C4) Tr Tr A B
IX: C1 C3 C3 F4 (Bc F4) Tr Tr A B
X: C1 C3 C4 F4 (Bc F4) Tr Tr A B

No. VII is the only piece demanding two violas. However, the only problem occurs in bars 56-57 and can easily be fixed:

  • Part 2: change E minim to crotchet, then return to A at the end of bar 57
  • Part 3: change from note 2 to two crotchet rests then take the last note from part 2; bar 56 notes 1-2 similarly, then swap the minim.

Groups using viols will manage without any difficulty.

Clifford Barlett