Baroque Garden

Featuring: violin, recorder/dulcian, violone, theorbo, organ

“Just as the worthy and perfect painter imitates with colours all things created by Nature, so with a wind or string instrument it will be possible to imitate the beauty of the human voice”. 

With these words, the recorder and gamba player Silvestro Ganassi dal Fontego explains to the readers of his “Opera intitulata La Fontegara” (1535) a key concept, which will inspire the way of playing by many instrumentalists . The ars retorica becomes the key to the success of instrumental music, the ideal link between instrument and voice, between imitation and reality. Where words were lacking, meaning in the instrumental repertoire, composers and instrumentalists used rhetoric to move, enchant and delight listeners just as much as singers did. The imitative style was a universal language that reflected the delights of nature and the work of human beings: we can find the solitary and melodious song of the nightingale, some playful dialogues between the hen in the courtyard and the cuckoo of the forest but also the pulsating rhythm of the battle, or the hypnotic effect of a redundancy of bells. The dances also had their own emotional rhetoric: the lively and sunny rhythm is clearly perceived in the festive Ciaccone, a very popular genre at the time – probably derived from ancient Spanish dances – while the calm and fascinating atmosphere of dusk is recognizable in the Ballo delle Ombre.  

Finally, the beauty of the so-called new modern style, oriented towards a new and intense harmonic expressiveness and towards the monody accompanied by the continuo, is perceived in the Canzon called precisely “La Moderna”, in which the sinuosity of the upper voices narrates a moving speech, while the continuo emphasizes the surrounding harmonic universe. 

Marco Uccellini (1602-1680)

Symphonia Gran Battaglia

Sonata Nona “Maritati insieme la Gallina e il Cucco fanno un bel concerto”

Maurizio Cazzati (1616-1678)


Nicolaus à Kempis (c.a1600-1675)

Symphonia à 3 supra ut re mi fa sol

Anonim England XVII

Division Woodycock, Solomen Eccle’s Division

P.J. Westhoff (1656-1705)

Imitatione delle Campane

Salomone Rossi (1570-1630)

Sonata I “La Moderna”

Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676)

Sonata a 3

G. G. Kapsberger (1580-1651)


Jacob Van Eyck (1590 – 1657)

Engels Nachtigaletje

Tarquinio Merula (1595-1665)

Canzona a due “La Gallina”

Maurizio Cazzati

Ballo delle Ombre

J. H. Schlmelzer (1620-1680) Ciaccona

Nicolaus à Kempis

Symphonia 7 super Ciaccona

Photo@Lionello Genini