Thor Jorgen / Divina Mysteria

Apoteosis: Viola Bastarda

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The term viola bastarda, which is cited in the title of this Vanitas album, refers to an innovative method of playing the viol da gamba that was popularized in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, anticipating developments in Baroque music. This ornate style, derived from the practice of reducing counterpoint to a single, highly active melodic line, is typified by the 15 works performed here, whether as solo improvisations or in combination with other instruments. The ensemble consists of Thor Jorgen on viol da gamba, Pavel Amilcar on violin, and organist Andrés Alberto Gómez, who also contributed Toccata del signor Andrés Gómez. The composers Girolamo Diruta, Riccardo Rognoni, Bartolomé de Selma, Francesco Rognoni, Francesco Maria Bassani, Alfonso Ferrabosco, and Gioseffo Guami are unlikely to be familiar to most classical listeners, though the better-known Girolamo Frescobaldi and Claudio Merulo should ring a few bells with musicians. For the most part, their pieces have the characteristic melancholy tone of much viol music, and despite the intricacy of the counterpoint and many bravura passages, the program remains reflective and subdued in mood. Thanks to the controlled engineering and clear studio sound, all the details are crisp, and the viol's intricate lines aren't blurred by the surrounding acoustics.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:33
3 3:37
4 4:58
5 6:18
6 1:28
7 4:49
9 7:30
10 3:44
11 5:31
12 2:15
14 5:30
15 4:01
blue highlight denotes track pick