The Renaissance Keyboard – Fabio Antonio Falcone

Fabio Antonio Falcone turns in a compelling program of Italian renaissance keyboard music. It traverses the complete keyboard output of two composers; Andrea Antico and Marco Antonio Cavazzoni.

Both composers have their merits. Antico was active primarily as a publisher and arranger. His 1517 collection Forttole features keyboard arrangements of the then-new vocal form of the same name. Cavazzoni was a harpsichordist as well as a composer. His works, to my ears, more fully explore the contrapuntal possibilities inherent in keyboard instruments than Antico.

Falcone carefully sequences the works to provide contrast and maintain listener interest. He also varies the instruments he performs on, which also helps vary the sound of the recording.

The church organ Falcone plays was originally built in mid-1600s, and still retains (at least in Falcone’s voicings), the small, intimate sound of a renaissance period organ. He also plays a harpsichord based on an 1531 prototype, and a polygonal virginal from around the same period. The difference between the full, strong sound of the harpsichord and the delicate tinkle of the virginal is easy to hear.

This one’s a given for anyone interested in renaissance instrumental music. But I think it may also appeal to those who are looking for something a little outside standard classical repertoire.

The Renaissance Keyboard
Andrea Antico and Marco Antonio Cavazzoni: Complete Keyboard Music
Fabio Antonio Falcone
Brilliant Classics 95007

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