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Pawel Siwczak

Fantastic Universe of Frescobaldi and Froberger

harpsichord recital

Private recital organized by Gillian Ingham.

Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583 – 1643), organist at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, virtuoso keyboard player and a composer whose works were studied by generations of future musicians, was an influential figure also in life of Johann Jakob Froberger (bapt. 1616 – 1667). Froberger, baptized (and likely born) in Stuttgart, later became an organist at the imperial court in Vienna but was given a three-year leave to study with Frescobaldi in Rome.

Frescobaldi’s works, in particular Fiori Musicali (Musical Flowers) were used as an example of strict counterpoint in teaching music until 19th century, but his works were also full of invention and imagination, perhaps in the most astonishing way in his last composition, Cento partite sopra passacagli (Hundred variations upon Passacaglia). His two volumes of Toccatas (including numerous other genres) raised keyboard playing standards to new heights and it is from these works that Froberger took inspiration while writing his own Toccatas, in his teacher’s Italianate style.

However, Froberger absorbed different musical traditions while travelling extensively as a diplomat, in particular the French style that was gaining popularity and appreciation at the time. Notably, Froberger’s music is programmatic, often with elaborate titles and lengthy descriptions helping us understand the events or intentions that lead to a particular work’s inception. Most importantly, his music is free: sometimes the barlines do not exist, or are printed just because the notes had to be somehow organized on paper, and the rhetorical gestures take precedence over the strict musical structures. The result is a fascinating sound world, an example of stylus phantasticus (fantastic style) with elements of improvisation, where imagination is of the utmost importance. Neither the artist, nor the listener can ever be quite certain where will the music take them next.


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Price includes refreshments

Date & Time

Friday, 12 June 2022
7 pm
duration: 1hr
followed by refreshments


Gill’s Drawing Room
8 Hitherfield Road
SW16 2LN

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