A programme focused on Bellerofonte Castaldi, an erudit "dilettante" of the XVII century, a superb musician and lute virtuoso. Some of his works, like Tasteggio Soave or Ferita d’amore were impressive at his time, but nowadays still charm the listener with their expressiveness and rhetorical texture.
Evangelina Mascardi recorded in 2011 a selection from his Capricci a due stromenti and Primo mazzetto di fiori,
highlighting his mastery in counterpoint and “affetti” expression, demonstrating how his work undoubtedly deserves to be better known.

 

   When talking about the early Baroque and its first attempts to innovate musical style, one should not neglect the theorbo.
Castaldi Capricci frontespizioBelonging to the lute family, it flourished and spread widely at the end of the XVI century to accompany vocal monodic repertoire, as a sort of remake of the Greek lyra.
Bellerofonte Castaldi 1580-1649 had a central role in this process. Musician, poet, engraver and well versed in literature, he appears as the perfect “gentilhuomo diletante”. At that time the word “dilettante” indicated somebody who reached the highest degree in both composing and performing, namely a “musico prattico” and a “ musico theorico”.
He published two works, the “Capricci a due stromenti cioe tiorba e tiorbino e per sonar solo varie sorti di balli e fantasticare” Modena 1622 and “Primo mazzetto di fiori musicalmente colti dal giardino bellerofonteo” Venezia 1623. Both of them are richly decorated with some of his engravings and poems, which are wonderfully describe private desires, troubles and fears, and perfectly correspond to his unconventional instrumental style.
The solo theorbo compositions are perfect examples of the new, growing, instrumental style. Something like Tasteggio Soave or Ferita d’amore was impressive at that time, but still nowadays affects the listener with its expressiveness and rhetorical texture.

Differently from theorbists of his time, Castaldi is very careful about his counterpoint as well, featuring wisely crafted imitations. A superb musician, worthy of being more thoroughly known.

Evangelina Mascardi,  2011

 

Wounded by Love

06 Evangelina Mascardi theorbo BNFerita d’amore Gagliarda
Mustazzin corrente
Fantasticaria detta giovanile
Furiosa corrente

Lusinghevole Passeggio
Arpesca gagliarda
La follia

Tasteggio soave
Sonata I
Trionfante gagliarda
Cecchina corrente
Florida corrente

from Capricci a due stromenti e per sonar solo varie sorti di balli e fantasticarie, Modena 1622

Evangelina Mascardi, theorbo
Cezar Mateus, New Jersey, 2004

ref. CD Arcana, 2011
Recording of the year 2012 - MusicWeb International

to critics