photos by Gregor Khuen Belasi

About the Music

The King's Hunt is one of the first pieces of program music I know of. I just love this work. It has such great descriptive power. To me it is like an opera with no lyrics. John Bull was a very important English composer. He received one of the first doctorates in music, therefore he called himself Doctor Bull. For some unknown reasons he had to leave England and fled to Amsterdam. Maybe he liked women too much, or maybe he was a spy. I already have my hypothesis; you can choose yours.

The Pavana Lachrimae was probably the most famous piece by Dowland. Composers enjoyed writing variations on well-known tunes. So did Thomas Morley with his Pavana and Gagliarda based on the Dowland aria. A perfect setting.

Giles Farnaby must have been a remarkable keyboard player, judging from the music he left. It is a peculiar coincidence that he and John Bull graduated on the same day in 1592 in Oxford. I find his Fantasia quite modern, especially in the use of polyrhythm.

The Passacaglia is a genre the suits our duo very well. We chose this Passacaglia of Kerll because the harmony gave Manuel the excuse to add some nice "Spanish continuo" to it. The introduction -- it's Manuel warming up!

The Fantasia by Mudarra is a work with a fine irony. The ending with a lot of "falsas"  (dissonances) was maybe meant to make fun of another artist called "Ludovico" who was a harpist at the court of Ferdinando V and whose name occurs in a note by Mudarra. Perhaps it is the same Ludovico mentioned by Juan Bermudo. The latter wrote that Ludovico was known for his use of chromaticism, of which Mudarra probably was not fond.

I am thankful to Aapo Hakkinen and Andrew Talle for getting the score of the Fandango in time for the recording. In fact, the book is out of print. With its easy structure, the Fandango is really the perfect piece for us. Here we added variations and improvisations. The music is probably not by Scarlatti, nevertheless it has some typical Scarlattian passages, which makes it dangerous enough.

Handel needs no presentation. We selected three movements from this suite and of course chose it because of the final Passacaglia in which the Western harmony is summarized by the circle of fifths. Here, too, we took the liberty of adding improvised parts. The Passacaglia is introduced by the Ouverture and the Sarabande.

To preserve the feeling of a live performance, we decided not to do a lot of editing in the studio. We just selected the best takes. During my lessons, my teacher sometimes said to me: "We must live with imperfections." I took him at his word. – Marco Facchin


Credits and additional information

Recorded and produced by Marco Facchin & Manuel Randi,
Jan 2-4, 2013
With a lot of help from: Mattia Mariotti, Elena Borgogno, Fabio Rigali, Davide Jamunno, Georg Zeller, Markus Daum.

Recording location: Radiokapelle Haus St. Benedikt, Kloster Muri-Gries, Bolzano-Italy

Photos: Gregor Khuen Belasi
Booklet design: Maurizio Schiavo

Manuel and Marco thank: our families for their immense support and Mattia Mariotti, Thomas & Klaus at Thomasguitars, Michael Calmes, Andrew Talle, Aapo Hakkinen, James David Christie, Roger Jönsson at LineAudio, Leopoldo Saracino, Maurizio Schiavo, Gregor Khuen Belasi, Oren Kirschenbaum, and Dino Lucchi.

Special Thanks:
P. Urban Stillhard, OSB
Fr. Otto Grillmeier, OSB
Maria Grazia Cupini, Music and Performing Arts Library, Bologna
Marinella Menetti, Music and Performing Arts Library, Bologna