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Tuesday, May 11, 2004
  Toccata No. 3 (1615, revised 1637)
Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 4 Track 45

The value of Girolamo's virtuosity is the potential it has to inspire contemplation. As Mr. Frescobaldi's friends, seated in the church before Mass, were assaulted by his saxophone-like technique, we can hope that their minds were encouraged to think. With all his daring-do, our keyboard player maintained a calm, proud posture. And the listener may see in that a reflection of man's competence and ability to master the complex. With this small catalyst, the mind may drift into weightier topics such as the issues of the church.

The right and left hands of this keyboard player share the stage equally. It is even difficult to tell when one has taken over from the other. Consequently, the melodic range of the tune expands both clefs. With all this space Girolamo moves up and down with an improvisational agility. In the background of his speedy tune, Frescobaldi supports this action with slow moving chords in free rhythm. It is probably a very bad idea, but I can not help but wonder how well this keyboard piece would fair transcribed for a banjo ensemble.

What I like about Frescobaldi's Toccata is that it encourages me to hum. In spite of all the speedy notes, there is something of the aria in this music.

For some good banjo music try the Flecktones
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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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