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What was new with Claudio Merulo? by Dr. Wolfram Syré

2017-11-02 - Playing and Pieces

What was new with Claudio Merulo?

The Toccatas of Claudio Merulo is the bridge between those of Giovanni Gabrielei and those of Girolamo Frescobaldi and of Michelangelo Rossi.
Merulo's Toccatas have a structure and expression as monochrome as with Gabrieli. But he created also a new type of tocaata. Its features are a larger size, virtuosity and some polyphonic sections. So he prepared the musical taste of the time for the maniristic Toccatas of Frescobaldi and Rossi.
The most interesting piece of Merulo is for my eyes his Toccata ottava del 4o tono. It presents the same noble melancholia as the famous Pavana Lachrymae of John Dowland. But something more is very special in this piece: A fine melodie and its harmonisation is performed on and on following a Passacaglia-idea. This is unique.

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