Personalities | Girolamo Frescobaldi | Early Baroque | Classical

(Ji-ro’-la’mo Fres-ko-bal’-de) 1583–1643
Italian composer

Frescobaldi was appointed organist at St Peter’s Basilica, Rome, in 1608, and he remained in the post for the rest of his life. The composer did take occasional leaves of absence, however. The longest of these was taken between 1628 and 1634, during which time Frescobaldi travelled to Florence, where he served at the ducal court.

Frescobaldi wrote madrigals, Masses and other miscellaneous vocal pieces, but his lasting fame and renown lies in the strength of his compositions for organ and harpsichord and as a keyboard virtuoso. In both his Toccate e partite (‘Toccatas and Partitas’, 1615) and Fiori musicali (‘Musical Flowers’, 1635) Frescobaldi addresses the performer, emphasizing the importance of responding to the emotions by playing with imagination and expressive freedom. Frescobaldi’s keyboard music often has a pronounced individuality which can be found, above all, in his toccatas, dances and variations on popular melodies.

Recommended Recording:
Il primo libro di capricci, John Butt (Harmonia Mundi)

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