Basso Ostinato: Passacaglias & Chaconnes / Belder

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Ostinato translates in Italian as ‘obstinate’ or insistent; passacaglia derives from the Spanish phrase ‘passer la calle’, to walk down the street; Chaconne is of Latin-American origin, meaning unknown. Diverse etymologies, then, for one of the fundamental structures in Western music, and one which became the foundation of most pop musics, when the ground bass evolved into the four-bar riff. On this album Pieter-Jan Belder has assembled a collection of ostinato pieces, not necessarily chaconnes or passacailles, but all kinds of pieces that feature a certain obsessive repetition, usually on a harmonic basis. All of these pieces are in fact dances. His choice spans almost two centuries, from the simple tread of a Pass’e Mezzo by Giovanni PIcchi to the ornamented flourishes of Soler’s Fandango. Even the Fandango, however, is dwarfed by the D minor Chaconne with which J.S. Bach crowned his D minor Partita for solo Partita, here arranged for harpsichord by Pieter-Jan Belder, who follows in a notable line of transcribers of the piece including Brahms. The Chaconne is Bach’s mature contribution to the ostinato literature, forever touched by the death of his first wife, Maria Barbara, while he was away on business. Muffat’s Passacaglia is commonly heard on the organ, but here it takes on a new life under Belder’s fingers, with the elaborate fingerwork transferred to the harpsichord. Other diverting works on this unique collection include a Chaconne by the little-known Bernardo Storace the crowning glory of Frescobaldi’s output, the 144 variations of his magnificent Cento partite sopra passacaglia.

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: BRI95656

  • UPC: 5028421956565

  • Label: Brilliant Classics

  • Composer: Antonio Soler, Bernardo Storace, Georg Muffat, Giovanni Picchi, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Henry Purcell, Johann Sebastian Bach, Louis Couperin, Louis Marchand, Thomas Tomkins

  • Performer: Pieter-Jan Belder