Concerto Zapico: Forma Antiqva plays Baroque Dance MusicConcerto Zapico: Forma Antiqva plays Baroque Dance Music

Irresistible baroque adventure

Amazon UK

Disco: Concerto Zapico

01 de abril de 2011


"In fact there is not a single weak piece or dull moment here, and altogether this is a thoroughly engaging baroque delight. Let's hope we will hear plenty more from this outstanding group of musicians."


Forma Antiqva are an instrumental group from Asturias consisting of three brothers - Aarón, Daniel and Pablo Zapico - who have been making a name for themselves in their native Spain and beyond. On the evidence of this CD, they richly deserve their success. Their instruments are theorbo, baroque guitar and harpsichord/organ, and here they bring us a well-judged programme of baroque Italian and Iberian instrumental dance pieces played with both energy and imagination.

Most of the pieces are originally for the lute family or solo keyboard, but the brothers have arranged the works to suit their own combination of instruments. So their approach is not strictly H.I.P., but more in an adventurous spirit of the kind that will be familiar to fans of, for example, Christina Pluhar and L'Arpeggiata. By this I don't mean that the brothers try to copy this or any other group - they are far too good to do that, and are very much their own masters with their own individual style. In any case their approach is both enterprising and entirely convincing, and certainly well within the liberal traditions of baroque instrumental practice. They perform with panache and brilliance and with compelling, foot-tapping rhythms, and their instruments sound superb.

Composers represented include Kapsberger, Santiago de Murcia, Pasquini, Valente and Domenico Scarlatti. The choice of music is generally unfamiliar but in all cases delightful. The Fandango by Scarlatti makes for an arresting opening, and the various ostinato pieces - passacaglia, chaconne, follia and the like - go especially well. My own favourites include Kapsberger's Passacaglia and Ciaccona, the closing Ballo by Antonio Valente, and above all the anonymous Bayle del Gran Duque. This latter is a Spanish version from 1709 of a glorious Italian work which kept turning up in many forms throughout the baroque era: the Ballo del Gran Ducca, sometimes called Aria di Fiorenza, whose origin was Cavalieri's concluding choral dance from the Florentine Intermedii (also known as La Pellegrina) of 1589. It's a graceful, stately dance to an unforgettable melody, further enhanced here by some inspired instrumental work; and, when we hear it played as beautifully as this, it's easy to understand why composers from many countries continued to write their own versions of it for more than a century afterwards.

The booklet provides only very brief comments about the music but all the sources are carefully documented, as are details of the instruments. The disc is attractively presented and the recorded sound is superb. In fact there is not a single weak piece or dull moment here, and altogether this is a thoroughly engaging baroque delight. Let's hope we will hear plenty more from this outstanding group of musicians.

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