Neapolitan music for organ, harpsichord and chromatic harpsichord


Giovanni de Macque (c.1549-1614)

1. Capriccio sopra re fa mi sol  [5:04]  London, B.L., MS Add. 30491

2. Prima Gaglarda  [1:19]  London, B.L., MS Add. 30491

3. Seconde Stravaganze  [2:45]  London, B.L., MS Add. 30491

4. Seconda Gaglarda  [1:48]  London, B.L., MS Add. 30491

5. Ricercar Decimo Tono  [4:54]  Firenze, B.N. MS Mag1...XIX

6. Capriccietto  [2:20]  London, B.L., MS Add. 30491

Scipione Stella (c.1559- c.1620)

7. Seconda breve Canzon  [1:40]  London, B.L. MS Add. 30491

Giovanni Salvatore (c.1610- c.1688)

8. Toccata Seconda del Nono Tono Naturale  [3:31]  Napoli 1641

9. Canzone Francese Terza del Primo Tono Finto  [3:46]

Gregorio Strozzi (c.1615- c.1690)

10. Toccata Quarta per l'elevazione  [5:36]  Napoli 1687

Giovanni Maria Trabaci (c.1575-1617)  

            11. Canzona Franzesa Prima (Primo Tono)  [2:33]  Napoli 1603)


Giovanni de Macque

12. Prime Stravaganze  [2:21]  London, B.L., MS Add. 30491

Giovanni Maria Trabaci

13. Toccata Terza & Ricercar’ sopra il Cimbalo Cromatico  [4:59]  Napoli 1615

14. Gagliarda Quinta Cromatica à cinque detta la Trabacina  [2:58]  Napoli 1615

15. Consonanze Stravaganti  [1:53]  Napoli 1603

Francesco Lambardo (c.1587-1642)

16. Gagliarda  [1:12]  London, B.L., MS Add. 30191

17. Toccata (Secondo Tono)  [2:44]  London, B.L., MS Add. 30491

Don Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa (1566-1613)

18. Gagliarda  [3:02]  Napoli, Conservatorio, MS 4.6.3

Ascanio Mayone (c.1570-1627)

19. Ancidetemi pur Madrigale di Arcadelt, passaggiato  [4:42]  Napoli 1603

20. Toccata Quarta per il Cimbalo Cromatico  [2:53]  Napoli 1609

Giovanni de Macque

21. Toccata a modo di Trombette  [2:59]  London, B.L., MS Add. 30491

Giovanni Salvatore

22. Canzone Francese Seconda del Nono Tono Naturale  [2:58]  Napoli 1641


Total Time: 67:49



               Sixteenth-century Naples developed a musical culture of its own. This was partly thanks to its Spanish connexion. But as far as its keyboard music is con­cerned, the two most important in­fluences came from the North. The first of these was the Flemish composer Jean de Macque, or as he styled him­self, Giovanni de Macque. After some years as a boy singer at the Viennese court under the direction of Philippe de Monte, de Macque began his career in Rome before moving on to Naples where he was to stay for the rest of his life. His first appointment there (from 1585) was to the Prince of Venosa's aca­demy (the Prince, Fabrizio Gesualdo, was the composer's father). From 1590 he was assistant organist to Scipione Stella at the church of the Annunziata. Four years later he became organist to the Vice-regal court; in 1599 he was promoted to maestro di cappella, a post he held until his death in 1614. He published a large amount of sacred and secular vocal music. His instrumental music, which has survived only in ma­nuscripts and is mainly for keyboard, ranges from the most conservative form of strict counterpoint (the Ricercar) to the ‘Stravaganze’ – a type of Toccata that explores strange harmonic modulations within the bounds of the ordinary key­board tuned to mean-tone tempera­ment. His inventive use of the key­board in other ways can be heard in the fanfares of the Toccata a modo di Trom­bette as well as his use of flamboyant passage-work within the context of a fairly rigid contrapuntal structure (the Capriccio sopra re fa mí sol. De Macque can be regarded as the father of the Neapolitan school of keyboard music. His influence, most obvious in the works of his pupils Mayone and Tra­baci, may clearly be heard in the later music of Salvatore and Strozzi.

               The second important influence came from Northern Italy. In 1594 Don Carlo Gesualdo, accompanied by Scipione Stella, visited the Ferrarese court. Here they heard Luzzasco Luz­zaschi perform on the archicembalo, an instrument with 31 keys to the octave that had been developed by Nicola Vicentino in Venice some 40 years pre­viously. This, together with its rather simpler relative, the cimbalo cromatico or chromatic harpsichord, was designed to make it possible to accompany singers and other instruments in any key at any pitch desired without compromising the perfect major thirds of mean-tone tuning. Given the existence of such instruments, it was possible for compos­ers to make use of the extra semitones. Unfortunately, none of Luzzaschi's music for archicembalo has survived. In Naples, however, the 19-note harpsi­chord was sufficiently popular to be referred to by Trabaci as the cimbalo cro­matico comune (or the common chro­matic harpsichord), and both Mayone and Trabaci published Toccatas for the instrument. The presence of additional semitones (each black key is divided to give both a flat and a sharp between the white keys) including e# and b# meant that the modulatory writing introduced by Macque in his Strava­ganze could be taken even further. The most extreme example included on this recording is Trabaci's Toccata e Ricercare which, when transposed down a tone, modulates from G to c# and back again. Other works requiring only two extra keys per octave are Trabaci's Con­sonanze Stravaganti, his Gagliarda Cro­matica, Gesualdo’s Gagliarda and Mayo­ne’s Toccata IV (Salvatore’s Canzona Seconda requires both d# and a# but these notes can be retuned to suit on a normal harpsichord since no flats are needed.)

Christopher Stembridge, 1997



ORGAN: Dionigi Romani, 1581, Church of San Niccolò Oltrarno, Florence.

C-d3 (originally F-c3, extended late 18th century)

Principal 8’ (2 ranks in treble)

Octave 4’ (2 ranks in treble)

Fifteenth 2’

Nineteenth 1’

Twenty-Second 1’



Octave flute 4’

(The Trumpet used in no. l is a late 18th-century addition. There is documentary evidence of reed stops in 16th-century Italian organs, though none has survived)

Temperament: Mean-tone.


CHROMATIC HARPSICHORD: Den­zil Wraight, 1987.

C-d3, 79 notes (19 in each octave: C, C#, Db, D, D#, Eb, E, E#, F, F#, Gb, G, G#, Ab, A, A#, Bb, B, B#)

l x 8’

Reconstruction based on documentary evidence (cf. Michael Praetorius, Syn­tagma Musicum II, 1618) built in Ita­lian style of the period


HARPSICHORD with extra chromatic keys: Denzil Wraight, 1980.

c/E-f3, 57 notes (14 in central octaves with split keys for d#/eb and g#/ab. Bass short octave with split keys D/F# and E/G#).

2 x 8’

Based on Italian harpsichord c.1620 by unknown maker probably of Venetian origin, preserved in Russell Collection, University of Edinburgh