Giovanni Salvatore – a contemporary of Frescobaldi by Antonio Caporaso

by Antonio Caporaso | Het ORGEL | Year 106 | (2010) | Issue 3

Antonio Caporaso Giovanni Salvatore – a contemporary of Frescobaldi
Het ORGEL 106 (2010), nr. 3, 26-33 [summary]

Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643) is beyond any doubt the best-known Italian keyboard composer of the seventeenth century. There are also less-known and unknown composers from that century who were then very well known and famous. One of them is Giovanni Salvatore (ca. 1610-ca.1688). Although in his own time he was famous for his vocal and instrumental works far beyond the Italian border, he is scarcely known at all today.
Salvatore lived and worked in Naples, where at the beginning of the seventeenth century a tradition emerged in which the most important musical positions were passed from teacher to pupil. Salvatore played an important role in this ‘didactic chain’; he saw to it that many talented Neapolitan musicians flourished up to the end of the seventeenth century.
Salvatore’s collection Ricercari a quattro voci per Organo, canzoni francesi, toccate e versi per rispondere nelle Messe con l’organo al Choro che si canta nelle Domeniche dell’Anno was published by O. Beltrano in Napels in 1641. It contains eight ricercari, four canzoni, two toccatas and three organ masses. It is worthy of note that Salvatore used precisely those compositional genres in this collection that we meet in the work of Frescobaldi, spread over a number of decades. More important seem to be the similarities in style and the preference of both composers for refinement, for affects, and for virtuosity. Also interesting is that Salvatore used the theme of the Bergamasca for the last van his four canzoni, precisely as had Frescobaldi, who inserted the canzona on this theme after his third organ mass (‘Messa della Madonna’) as an appendix.

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