Generally, when you think of baroque music you think Europe. Handel’s London, perhaps, JS Bach’s Leipzig, or Vivaldi’s Venice. For the composer Domenico Zipoli, his training as a missionary meant that he wound up further afield. Instead of hobnobbing at the courts of Europe, he lived and composed in Argentina at a time when getting to South America meant a difficult and lengthy journey.
The music recorded on this disc was published as Sonate d’Intavolatura per Organo e Cimbalo, before Zipoli’s South American adventures began. Though still far from well known, the suites and partitas in the harpsichord half of the set are masterful enough to have impressed fellow composers. Writing centuries later, Vincent d’Indy referred to these works as proving Zipoli “one of the greatest Italian masters in musicality and elegance in composing”, and compared him favourably to Frescobaldi, Pachelbel and Bach.
For the most part following the standard baroque dance suite form, Zipoli’s music is brought to life in this recording. Giovanni Nesi’s choice to record these works on the piano serves the music well, bringing a wonderful crispness and clarity to these works. Usually I’d quibble over historical accuracies, but that becomes irrelevant with a performance this exciting. There’s a fabulous onrush of notes in the faster movements and a meditative stillness in the slower ones. If you’re after baroque music that’s off the beaten track, I can highly recommend this disc!