Arcana – a subsidiary label of Outhere – is releasing a fascinating recording of music for the theorbo by Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger and Claudio Ambrosini.

Stefano Maiorana is the soloist.

The theorbo is a plucked string instrument of the lute family, with a long extended neck and a curved-back sound box (a hollow box) with a wooden top, typically with a sound hole, and a neck extending out from the soundbox.

Performer, composer, master lutenist and chitarrone (theorbo) virtuoso Austro-Italian Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger (1580-1651) wrote much music for string instruments.

Claudio Ambrosini (b: 1948) winning composer of the Prix de Rome has written extensively for early instruments.

Stefano Maiorana earned a Diploma in Classical Guitar at the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome. A highly regarded specialist in early plucked string instruments, he has concertized as soloist all over the world.

The musical selections of Kapsperger’s range from several untitled ones to Courantes, Galliards, Ricercares, and Toccatas, while Ambrosini’s 21st  intriguing century music uses at times toccatas, ricercares, chaconnes, and free-form works inspired by 16th and 17th  century forms. 

The cd intersperses a half-dozen soundscapes from sites around the City of Venice to great effect. Plucking, strumming, even tapping his instrument, Stefano Maiorana throughout the recording’s two-dozen plus tracks leaves no doubt in the mind of the listener as to his technical prowess and his elegant musicality, eliciting ever changing now dulcet, now dramatic sounds over one hour of exquisitely pleasant listening.

The cd is excellently annotated by Sylvie Mamy and by Maiorana, handsomely packaged, and beautifully produced and engineered by Andrea Dandolo.

Rafael de Acha © 2023

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