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Johannes Hieronymus Kapsberger

1580 - 1651
composed during the Baroque period
Johann Hieronymous Kapsberger was a famous lute player and also a composer of the Baroque era's first blush in Italy. Although his work was uneven, its better examples have considerable interest to today's listeners.

Despite his name, he was an Italian composer. He was born to an Austrian military man, Colonel Wilhelm Kapsberger, who lived in Venice. During his career, the composer often Italianized his Christian names to Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger.

He quickly became famous as a virtuoso lutenist, which gave him entry to the leading clerical and aristocratic families, where he was treated as an equal as a "German nobleman." His skill and fame as a player also prompted his circulation in artistic and literary circles and his success as a composer flowed from the networking that resulted from this. He was a member of some of the "Academies" (more or less regular discussion and performance groups) that were important in artistic life of the time. These included the Accademia degli Umoristi and the Accademia degl'Imperfetti.

He had close contacts with the orders of St. Stephen and St. John and his publishers were members of these groups. In like manner, he was a friend of the poets Francesco Porta, Giulio Rospigliosi, and Giovanni Ciampoli, as well as painters and scholars. He wrote some of the most innovative and outstanding lute music of the time and was noted for a virtuoso style with well-chosen ornamentations and wrote attractive, lively dance music, as well as songs. He wrote a Sinfonie a quattro with orchestra and a solo group of violin, cornet, lute, chittarone, harp, and harpsichord, contrasting their solo sonorities against each other and the orchestral group most inventively.

In 1622, he was chosen to provide a major vocal work, Apotheosis seu consecratio, as part of the ceremonies celebrating the canonization of St. Ignatius Loyola. Kapsberger firmed up his relationship with the church hierarchy by writing a set of vocal compositions on poems of Pope Urban VIII and other music dedicated to members of the Pope's family, the Barberini. He composed a Missae urbanae in 1631, reportedly in an effort to introduce his music into the playbook of the Sistine Chapel's chorus.

Kapsberger's last publication was in 1640 and nothing is known about the rest of his life. His vocal music is highly uneven in quality. He wrote two sets of Cantiones sacrae, which are regarded as his best work for voices. Also highly regarded is his first book of villanellas (1610). Otherwise, he had a tendency to resort to standardized vocal ornamentations or roulades to such an excessive degree that the music is boring, as well as clumsy handling of texts and lack of formal balance of phrase lengths. His only dramatic works (the representative drama written for the Loyala canonization and an opera, Fetont) are lost. ~ Joseph Stevenson, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Baroque Lute Music, Vol. 1

Title: Toccata Arpeggiata For Chitarrone (From Book 1 Of D'intavolatura Di Chitarrone)

1. Toccata Arpeggiata For Chitarrone (From Book 1 Of D'intavolatura Di Chitarrone): Toccata Arpeggiata

Title: Galliarde For Chitarrone No. 11

2. Galliarde For Chitarrone No. 11: Gagliarda 11a

Title: Toccata For Chitarrone No. 5

3. Toccata For Chitarrone No. 5: Toccata 5a

Title: Aria Di Fiorenza For Chitarrone
Title: Toccata For Lute No. 1

5. Toccata For Lute No. 1: Toccata 1

Title: Gagliarda For Lute No. 1a

6. Gagliarda For Lute No. 1a: Gagliarda 1a

Title: Corrente For Lute No 1a

7. Corrente For Lute No 1a: Corrente 1a

Title: Toccata For Lute No. 6

8. Toccata For Lute No. 6: toccata 6

Title: Gagliarda For Lute No. 10a
Title: Corrente For Lute No 7a

10. Corrente For Lute No 7a: Corrente 7a

Title: Corrente For Chitarrone No. 2a (Modena MS)
Title: Ciachone, For Chitarrone

12. Ciachone, For Chitarrone: Ciachone

Title: Toccata For Lute No. 5

13. Toccata For Lute No. 5: Toccata 5

Title: Gagliarda For Lute No. 12a

14. Gagliarda For Lute No. 12a: Gagliarda 12a

Title: Corrente For Lute No 12a

15. Corrente For Lute No 12a: Corrente 12a

Title: Toccata For Lute No. 3 (from D'intavolatura Di Lauto, 1611)

16. Toccata For Lute No. 3 (from D'intavolatura Di Lauto, 1611): Toccata 3

Title: Gagliarda For Lute No. 4a

17. Gagliarda For Lute No. 4a: Gagliarda 4a

Title: Corrente For Lute No. 11a

18. Corrente For Lute No. 11a: Corrente 11a

Title: Toccata For Chitarrone No. 1a

19. Toccata For Chitarrone No. 1a: Toccata 1a

Title: Corrente For Chitarrone No. 2a (Modena MS)

20. Corrente For Chitarrone No. 2a (Modena MS): Corrente 2a

Title: Toccata For Chitarrone No. 2a

21. Toccata For Chitarrone No. 2a: Toccata 2a

Title: Bergamasca For Chitarrone

22. Bergamasca For Chitarrone: Bergamasca

Title: Kapsberger For Chitarrone

23. Kapsberger For Chitarrone: Kapsberger

Title: Colascione For Chitarrone

24. Colascione For Chitarrone: Colascione

Title: Canario For Chitarrone (From Book 1 Of D'intavolatura Di Chitarrone)

25. Canario For Chitarrone (From Book 1 Of D'intavolatura Di Chitarrone): Canario

x

Track List: Giovanni G. Kapsperger: Libro Primo D'intavolatura Di Lauto

Comments

Report as inappropriate
phunter500
Beautiful performance, but the sound engineer got as much of the artist breathing and making vocalization s as the music. Distracting.
Report as inappropriate
The volume was so low that I thought somehow the stereo was turned off. This can't mix unless it is remastered at a higher level. I usually like songs with modest level, and I have commented about how compression is destroying music. However, this goes too far in the other direction. Waste of a record.
Report as inappropriate
johnnyohania n
HEY PANDORA, IM SICK AND TIRED OF GETTING SPANISH LANGUAGE ADS FORCE FED TO ME. Ik vind dit Duitse muziek heel prettig. Ik zou graag meer horen. PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT YOU B**TARDS!
Report as inappropriate
Don't read this, because it doesn't work. I will kill you if you continue reading this. This is your last warning. Why are you still reading? Oh well, it's your funeral.
Report as inappropriate
mattsegel
Quit Italian
Report as inappropriate
Paul O'Dette always delivers the goods
Report as inappropriate
thomas.consi d i n e
awesome performance
Report as inappropriate
I like this composer and the very calming chords.
Report as inappropriate
beautiful, unique composer.

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