Girolamo Frescobaldi, 1583-1643

Girolamo Frescobaldi

Selected Recordings

Il Primo Libro di Ricercari

Aria e Corrente

Il Primo Libro delle Canzoni, Part 2

Selected Sheet Music

Ave Virgo gloriosa


Showcase Piece

I Libro di Capricci

Notes and Commentary

“The development of instrumental music was a major development of the Baroque period. In organ music, the Baroque era found a master in Girolamo Frescobaldi.”—David Ewen, The Complete Book of Classical Music

Girolamo Frescobaldi is widely regarded as one of the most important composers of keyboard music in the early Baroque period. A child prodigy, his printed collections contain some of the most influential music of the 17th century. His work influenced Johann Jakob Froberger, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Henry Purcell, among others. He’s considered the first of the great composers of the ancient Franco-Netherlandish-Italian tradition who chose to focus his creative energy on instrumental composition. He brought a wide range of emotion to the relatively unplumbed depths of instrumental music, mostly for keyboard. He lived from September 1583 to March 1, 1643.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

Books and Music

Selected Books
Girolamo Frescobaldi
Harvard Univ. Press, 1983
Frederick Hammond
$139.95 on Amazon


Music in the Baroque Era: From Monteverdi to Bach
W.W. Norton, 1947
Manfred Bukofzer
$39.95 on Amazon


Selected Music

frescobaldi3 Arie Musicali, Book 2 (2000), 1 CD

frescobaldi1 Complete Edition (2011), 15-CD set

51BIiIi9pIL._AA160_ Canzoni (2004), 1 CD

More Girolamo Frescobaldi music

Complete Works

The following list is excerpted from Wikipedia:

Keyboard music

  • Il primo libro delle fantasie a quattro (Milan, 1608): 12 fantasies
  • Toccate e partite d’intavolatura di cimbalo, libro primo (Rome, 1615): 12 toccatas, 4 partitas, 4 correntes (revised in 1637 with additions)
  • Recercari et canzoni franzese fatte sopra diverse oblighi in partitura, libro primo (Rome, 1615): 10 ricercars, 5 canzonas
  • Il primo libro di capricci fatti sopra diversi soggetti et arie in partitura (Rome, 1624): 12 capriccios
  • Il secondo libro di toccate, canzone, versi d’hinni, Magnificat, gagliarde, correnti et altre partite d’intavolatura di cembalo et organo (Rome, 1627): 11 toccatas, 6 canzonas, 4 hymns, 3 Magnificats, 5 galliards, 6 correntes and 4 partitas (revised in 1637)
  • Fiori musicali di diverse compositioni, toccate, kyrie, canzoni, capricci, e recercari, in partitura (Venice, 1635): 3 organ masses, 2 capriccios

A single posthumous print consisting entirely of unpublished music:

  • Canzoni alla francese in partitura, [libro quarto] (Venice, 1645): 11 canzonas

Frescobaldi’s works also appeared in the Nova instructio pro pulsandis organis, spinettis, manuchordiis series of prints in the 1670s.

Manuscript sources for Frescobaldi’s keyboard music include the following:

  • D-Mbs 12 canzonas
  • F-Pn rés.Vm7 675: 2 capriccios, 1 trio, 1 fantasia
  • Fioretti di Frescobaldi, GB-Lbl Add.40080: 11 canzonas, 1 toccata. This manuscript is in the hand of Nicolò Borbone, Frescobaldi’s assistant and engraver for the two books of toccatas.
  • Lbl Add.36661: 3 toccatas, 2 canzonas
  • I-RAc Classense 545: 2 capriccios, 1 canzona, 1 verset

And finally, the so-called Chigi manuscripts include one (Rvat Chigi Q.IV) which is partly an autograph source and contains numerous works, including a number of unique copies (as well as a number of pieces with insecure attribution to Frescobaldi).
Other instrumental music

  • 3 canzonas a 4, 5, and 8 (1608)
  • In partitura, il primo libro delle canzoni a 1–4, bc, per sonare con ogni sorte di stromenti (Rome, 1628): 38 ensemble canzonas, edited by . Two different editions appeared in 1628, one with 3 new works; a 1634 Venice print (Canzoni da sonare) contains 28 pieces, removing some of the old works and adding 10 new ones.

Vocal music

  • Il primo libro de’ madrigali (Antwerp, 1608): 19 madrigals for 5 voices
  • Liber secundus diversarum modulationum (Rome, 1627): 32 motets
  • Primo libro d’arie musicali per cantarsi (Florence, 1630): 23 arias for 1–3 voices and basso continuo
  • Secondo libro d’arie musicali per cantarsi (Florence, 1630): 20 arias for 1–3 voices and basso continuo

Additionally, a few pieces were published in anthologies:

  • Peccavi super numerum, motet for 3 voices and basso continuo (1616)
  • Angelus ad pastores, motet for 3 voices and basso continuo (1618)
  • Alla gloria alli honori, aria for 2 voices and basso continuo (1621)
  • Ego sum panis vivus, motet for 3 voices and basso continuo (1621)
  • O bell’occhi che guerrieri, aria for voice and basso continuo (1621)
  • Era l’anima mia, aria for 2 voices and basso continuo (1622)
  • Jesu rex admirabilis, motet for 4 voices and basso continuo (1625)

Two polychoral masses are attributed to Frescobaldi by some scholars, but the attribution remains controversial:

    • Missa sopra l’aria della monica
    • Missa sopra l’aria di Fiorenza

—Excerpted from Wikipedia

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