“I looked to San Pietro; now no longer, no. Understand me who can, for I understand myself”
“I’ die’ in guarda a san Pietro; or non più, no./ Intendami chi pò, ch’i’m’intend’io”
Petrarca, Canzone 105, 16-17/Frescobaldi, Fiori musicali
Twenty years earlier Frescobaldi had protested to the Mantuan court that he did not want to leave Rome, even for an exceptional salary. Each of his departures from the City marked some significant point in his career, and each return ushered in a new phase of development. Girolamo’s return from Mantua in 1615 had opened the central Roman period of his career, the years of his establishment as a composer. Following his return from Florence in 1634 he issued a series of retrospective, almost valedictory publications and devoted himself to increased activity as teacher and performer.
Even after his return to Rome Frescobaldi maintained some links with Florence. About 1659 Don Severo Bonini wrote in his Discorsi e regole:
There flourishes in playing the harpsichord exquisitely the Roman Signora Lucia Coppi, student of Sig. Girolamo Frescobaldi, who imitates so well her master that there is no foreign Gentleman who delights in such sound who does not make sure to hear her. Whence for such excellence the Most Serene Cardinal Giancarlo de’ Medici has put her on salary.
Ferdinando de’ Medici’s younger brother Gian Carlo (cardinal 1644) purchased the villa of Mezzomonte in 1629 after his return from Rome. One of the decorative artists employed by the prince was a Roman (born in Rieti) named Francesco Coppa, who appears in Gian Carlo’s household ruoli from 1630 as a painter and 1631 as a gentiluomo. The documentation for the decoration of the villa in the Archivio Niccolini di Camegliano di Firenze (ANFI) contains payments by Marchese Filippo Niccolini, the prince’s tutor (aio, 1622) and chamberlain, at Gian Carlo’s command to Frescobaldi for teaching Coppa’s daughter Lucia (Rome, 4 June 1625-Florence, 13 August 1699). The lessons are documented in receipts signed by Frescobaldi 1635-38 (fig. 10.1):
I Geronimo Frescobaldi have received from the signori Siri [Genoese papal bankers] Twenty-five scudi in cash, which they have paid me on the account of the Most Illustrious s.r Marchese Nicolini as my stipend commenced the first of October last year and ending for all April of the present [year] for teaching Lucia my student and in proof I have signed the present [receipt] in my own hand. In Roma 16 April 1637. // I Girolamo Frescobaldi manu propria.
I Geronimo Frescobaldi have received from sr. Alessandro Siri twenty-five scudi in cash which he has paid me by order of the sr. Marchese Filippo Niccolini of Florence and they are for six months ended this present month of September for teaching Lucia and in proof I have signed the present first receipt this day 30 September for sc. 25 in cash. 1637 In Rome // I girolamo Fescobaldi [sic] / manu propria
(Gian Carlo was also in touch with other Roman musicians, such as Stefano Landi.)
In the six years of Girolamo’s absence much had changed in Rome, now entering the last decade of the Barberini papacy. Two of Gianlorenzo Bernini’s principal projects had been realized, the bronze baldacchino in St. Peter’s and the new Barberini palace at the Quattro Fontane—symbolic statements of the City’s sacred and secular grandeur under Urban VIII and his nephews. Another project, the coordination of the central crossing complex of St. Peter’s with its reliquary niches and colossal statues, was under way by Bernini in collaboration with the pope as the crowning artistic effort of Urban’s papacy (see Thelen 1967 and Lavin 1968).
As Urban VIII aged the younger members of his family assumed greater prominence in politics and artistic patronage. The eldest, Francesco (1597-1679: fig. 10.2), was called simply “il Cardinal Barberino” as the senior cardinal of the family. His coat of arms, as it appears in monochrome on the 1637 re-edition of Frescobaldi’s Toccate I, consisted of the gold Barberini bees on a blue ground differenced by a red Latin cross on a silver field and surmounted by a cardinal’s galero and sometimes a legate’s cross (fig. 10.3). His youngest brother Antonio (1607-71: fig. 10.4), created a cardinal in 1627 over Francesco’s objections, was called “il Cardinale Antonio Barberino” and bore the Barberini arms undifferenced, superposed on a cross denoting his rank as Prior of Malta under a cardinal’s galero, in which form his arms appear on the title page of Frescobaldi’s Fiori musicali (fig. 10.5). (Cardinal Antonio’s Capuchin uncle, another Cardinal Antonio with whom he is sometimes confused, was called after his titulus “il Cardinal Sant’ Onofrio” and carried the family arms differenced by the Franciscan device of the crossed arms of Christ and Saint Francis and surmounted by a galero.) The middle nephew, Don Taddeo (1603-47: fig. 10.6), became Prince of Palestrina, Duke of Monte Rotondo, Prince Prefect, and succeeded his father as General of the Church. After his marriage to Anna Colonna, daughter of the Gran Contestabile, in 1627, Taddeo impaled the Colonna arms—a crowned column—with his own, undifferenced, the whole surmounted by a prince’s coronet (fig. 10.7).
Francesco had the largest income, the strongest will, and the widest-ranging intellect of the three brothers. His immense revenues were derived from a variety of benefices: he was Vice-Chancellor of the Church (1632, which gave him the Palazzo della Cancelleria as his residence), Archpriest of St. Peter’s (1633), titular Abbot of Farfa, Cardinal Protector of the Franciscan Order. A connoisseur of sacred studies, literature, sculpture, architecture, painting (one of Poussin’s first Roman patrons), and music, he employed all of these to enhance the glory of the Barberini. By 1631 the work on the Palazzo Barberini at the Quattro Fontane was far enough advanced to permit mounting the first of Francesco’s opera productions, Il Sant’Alessio, with a libretto by the young Pistoiese (and future pope), Giulio Rospigliosi (1600-69). These presentations—Rospigliosi’s libretti set by Stefano Landi, Marco Marazzoli, Domenico and Virgilio Mazzocchi, Luigi Rossi, and Michel Angelo Rossi—were staged with splendid costumes, scenery, dances, and machines. They were initially performed in Cardinal Francesco’s antechamber at the Quattro Fontane, which could hold perhaps a few hundred spectators. In 1639 the opera performances were transferred to a purpose-built theater adjacent to the palace and designed in part by Pietro da Cortona. According to Rospigliosi, the theater had a capacity of more than three thousand spectators. In addition to sacred and secular operas, during Carnival season Cardinal Francesco produced a Quarantore or Forty Hours’ Devotion in his titular church of San Lorenzo in Damaso, in which the Sacrament was venerated in an apparato, a stage-setting designed by artists such as Bernini and Cortona (fig. 10.8).
Francesco bore the financial brunt of these spectacles, but Antonio, Chamberlain of the Church (1638), Archpriest of Santa Maria Maggiore (1638), and Protector of the Dominican Order and of the Cappella Pontificia (1639), also underwrote some of the most splendid ones. In 1634 he offered a magnificent joust in Piazza Navona for the Carnival season, an occasion that demonstrated the Ferrarese accommodation with Rome in the the thirty-six years since the Devolution. The text and decorations were the work of Ferrarese artists under the direction of Enzo Bentivoglio, now artistic mentor of the younger Barberini. Enzo’s son Cornelio rode as mantenitore or champion, and his brother Guido published an account of the event (fig. 10.9). (It is tempting to link Frescobaldi’s Capriccio sopra la battaglia, which he published in the 1637 Aggiunta to the first book of toccatas, with such an occasion.) In 1642 Antonio produced the extravagant Rospigliosi-Luigi Rossi opera Il palazzo incantato, designed by Andrea Sacchi, whose performances alone were said to cost the cardinal sc. 400 a night.
Frescobaldi had connections with all three nephews and presumably frequented their various residences. He was a salaried member of Francesco’s household, dedicated the Fiori musicali to Antonio, and at the end of his life was employed to teach music to Taddeo’s young sons. The new Palazzo Barberini at the Quattro Fontane had been conceived as divided between the family’s secular prince, Taddeo, and its ecclesiastical prince, Francesco. Taddeo and his wife moved into the palace in mid-May 1632. Anna Colonna Barberini disliked the barely-finished palace with its still-damp plaster, which she considered unlucky because she bore only female children there. In the fall of 1634 she and Taddeo returned to Vecchia Roma and the old Barberini palace in Via de’ Giubbonari. Late in 1632 Francesco, now Vice-Chancellor of the Church, moved into the enormous Renaissance palace of the Cancelleria with its attached titular church, San Lorenzo in Damaso, leaving Antonio to become the sole tenant of the Quattro Fontane palace at a rent of sc. 3000 a year. With the death of Scipione Borghese, nephew of Paul V, in 1633, Francesco was named Archpriest of St. Peter’s. On 6 November “he took possession with great solemnity.”
The initiative of Frescobaldi’s final return to Rome was taken by Cardinal Francesco, who, as both Archpriest of St. Peter’s and a patron of immense wealth, was in a unique position to enhance every aspect of Frescobaldi’s career. Francesco first paid Frescobaldi “one hundred scudi [a standard travel fee] in cash to finance the Journey that he must make from Florence to Rome with his family” (“sc. 100 m[onet]a per soventione del Viaggio che deve fare da Firenze à Roma con la sua famiglia”). The family returned to Rome in April 1634. Frescobaldi’s first salary receipts at the Cappella Giulia date from May, although his replacement, Giovanni Giacomo Porro, had left on 1 December 1633 (Rostirolla 2014, I, 388). According to a status animarum of the parish of S. Lorenzo in Montibus for 1635 the Frescobaldi household consisted of Girolamo (whose age is given as 40) and Orsola (35), their children Domenico (20), Stefano (17), and Caterina (14), Orsola’s sister Margherita (50), and a Tuscan female servant (Cametti 19081, 731). (The ages in the status animarum are, to say the least, approximate—Girolamo was fifty-two, not forty, in 1635. Margherita’s age was given as 58 in 1641, 75 [!] in 1642, and 53 in 1643.) Orsola’s mother Alessandra and the Frescobaldi’s first-born Francesco seem to have disappeared in Florence, perhaps victims of the plague.
The Frescobaldi lived on the Salita Magnanapoli, the steep descent leading past Villa Aldobrandini down to Trajan’s column. They occupied the first of four apartments in a Portone de Menichelli with a door on Vicolo Magnanapoli in a house the third on the right side ascending the Salita, corresponding to the north side of the Palazzo Ceva-Roccagiovine (fig. 10.10). The house was known as “Casa del Tovaglia.” Cardinal Francesco paid Frescobaldi sc. 30 semiannually for the rent of the house. By July 1634 Girolamo was enrolled among the members of Cardinal Francesco’s household as a “straordinario” at the standard monthly salary of sc. 3.60 (sometimes received by an intermediary: cf. BAV, AB, CFB, Comp. 141: Salari e companatici), with additional gratuities at a rate of five scudi a month (cf. BAV, AB, CFB, Comp. 145, Elemosine 1635/1636) usually paid in larger installments: the salary and gratuities together amounted to some sc. 103.20 a year.
Cardinal Francesco even provided Frescobaldi with music paper: “… and in addition a book in folio maestro [formato grande = ca. cm. 26 x 42] of 150 sheets ruled for music with broad ribbons on the order of s.r Frescobaldi sc. 1.40” / “Twenty sheets of carta reale ruled for music [which] s.r Frescobaldi picked up sc. —.60” / “six sheets of carta reale lined for music given to sig.r Frescobaldi sc. —.18 /” “sixteen sheets of carta reale lined in nine places [which] Frescobaldi picked up sc.—.48.” (“Carta reale” was described as “those large sheets, which are used by painters.”) For Girolamo’s talented son Domenico, Cardinal Francesco obtained the reversion of a benefice at St. Peter’s and in 1635 paid for the necessary documents. Perhaps this was an acknowledgment of Domenico’s dedication to Francesco’s uncle of a manuscript volume of Latin poems and epigrams dated 1632-34.
At St. Peter’s the Chapter granted Frescobaldi a supplement of sc. 2 per month, raising his annual salary from sc. 72 to sc. 96. On 30 January 1635 Frescobaldi added to his receipt, “And in addition I have received twenty-four scudi in cash for the increase of two scudi a month made by the Most Reverend Chapter for this Year to begin on the first of next May…” The payment records of the Cappella Giulia suggest that Girolamo remained in Rome during the last decade of his life, except for a possible visit to Venice for the publication by Vincenti of the Fiori musicali, whose dedication is dated from Venice, 20 August 1635. (Despite the dedication of the revised Canzoni from Venice on 10 January 1635, Girolamo seems to have been in Rome at the time.) Paolo Agostino, maestro of the Capella Giulia, had died of the plague on 3 October 1629, to be succeeded on 8 October by Virgilio Mazzocchi, who later assumed the musical direction of Cardinal Francesco Barberini’s household as well.
Under Mazzocchi’s direction the services of the Cappella continued to increase in splendor, and Frescobaldi regularly participated as first organist. In 1637, for example, the feast of Peter and Paul was celebrated with vespers for six choirs and “three Cornetts for the Dome” (“Cornetti 3. per la Cuppula”). The ceremony was enthusiastically described—from hearsay, however—by Pietro Della Valle as “that great big piece of music that the same Mazzocchi did in St. Peter’s, I don’t know whether for twelve or sixteen choirs, with an echo choir at the top of the dome, which I understand in the fullness of that vast temple made wonderful effects.”
“On June 29 [1637, the same day] the Seminario Romano was founded by Cardinal Barberini Archpriest of S. Pietro … This Seminary serves the solemn feasts at Mass and Vespers and assists in the Canons’ Choir on feast days.” A canon of the basilica, Girolamo Muti, instituted the practice of singing Virgilio Mazzocchi’s Piæ Meditationes de Passione D. N. Iesv Christi (Rome: Grignani, 1648) on Fridays by students of the Seminario at the Altar of the Crucifix.
The ceremonial diary of the basilica records various musical events involving the organ in 1639: f. 398: 22 Feb. 1639: “then the singers with much music, the Te Deum laudamus alternating with the large organ” (“poi li cantori co[n] tanto di musica, il te Deu[m] laudamus alternatim co[n] l’organo grande”); f. 401: 12 March 1639: San Gregorio “with the customary music, and organ” (“co[n] la solita musica, et organo)”; f. 407: 11 April 1639: the Madonna della Colonna: “in this Mass, the large organ of the Choir was played …” (“in q[ues]ta Messa, s’è sonato l’org[a]no grande del Coro …”). At Easter, 24 April, echo choirs “…sang up in the Dome the Hymn and Magnificat at Vespers” (“… cantorno … al Vespro sopra la Cuppola Hinnno et Magnificat”).
The feast of Peter and Paul in 1640 was celebrated with five choirs, again plus an echo choir in the dome; Frescobaldi seems to have given the beat as well as playing continuo along with Franceschino [Mutij] and Alessandro Costantini. The anniversary of the Dedication was kept with six choirs, each with its own continuo organ, accompanied by pairs of violins, alto and tenor viols, cornetts, trombones, and theorboes, as well as three violoni and two spinets.
In the same year Virgilio Mazzocchi published his Sacri flores, a collection of motets for 2-4 voices and continuo, presumably composed for St. Peter’s (and for Frescobaldi) since it is dedicated to the Chapter of the basilica. Frescobaldi later quoted three excerpts from the Sacri flores in fascicle 29 of the Vatican manuscript Chigi Q. VIII. 205-206: “Nel motetto Veni sponsa Christi del Mazzocchio Alleluia,” “Nel motetto Sacerdotes Dei del Mazzocchi,” and “Omnes sancti.” Cardinal Francesco Barberini’s copy of the collection still exists (BAV, Stamp. Barb. N XIII. 19-22).
Frescobaldi returned to San Luigi de’ Francesi, performing there in 1634-36 and 1638. His pupil Leonardo Castellani first appeared as organist at St. Peter’s in 1636 for Peter and Paul and the Dedication, and continued until June 1643: he is presumably the “Lionardo organista” who performed at St. Peter’s for Giovanni Maria Roscioli, Coppiere of Urban VIII and Prefect of the Cappella Giulia 1636-37 and 1640-44. In 1639 Castellani received Frescobaldi’s salary for August + September and October + November.
Frescobaldi seems always to have been concerned about the condition of the instruments on which he performed: less than a month after his return to St. Peter’s extensive repairs were made to the portable organ of the basilica. These were apparently inadequate, however, since in March 1636 the Fabbriceria of San Pietro commissioned a new portable instrument at the suggestion of Cardinal Francesco. The construction of the organ was entrusted to Ennio Bonifatij, maestro d’organi of the basilica, who began work later in 1636 and finished by the spring of 1638. To facilitate the necessary moving, the organ was to be placed on a wheeled platform designed by Luigi Bernini and carved by Giovanni Battista Soria. Despite its intended mobility, the completed instrument contained no less than fourteen registers, more than many large stationary organs. (There is some evidence that, although movable, these instruments could be themselves quite large: see Chapter 11.)
The careers of both the maestro di cappella and the organist of the Cappella Giulia, Virgilio Mazzocchi and Frescobaldi, reflect the overlapping relationships among the singers of the Cappella Pontificia, the singers and instrumentalists associated with the Cappella Giulia, and the household musiche of the Barberini nephews. Although Mazzocchi directed the music for Cardinal Francesco’s possesso at San Pietro in 1633, he seems to have assumed the direction of the cardinal’s musical establishment only around 1635. He is first mentioned in January 1636, paid sc. 15 “for having taught the Viol to the Musicians” (d’hav[e]re inseg[na]to di Viola alli Musici,” Schrammek 2001, 200); his first opera for the Cardinal, Chi soffre speri, was produced for Carnival of 1637.
Mazzocchi was responsible both for such large public spectacles and for the private musical performances in the Cardinal’s household. Frescobaldi’s role is less certain: his name appears rarely in the Cardinal’s financial records except in connection with his regular salary and rent payments and an occasional gratuity. Since detailed accounts survive for many of the operatic productions, including the names of the keyboard players (many of them also employed by the Cappella Giulia), it seems that Girolamo did not take part in the yearly dramatic spectacles. Indeed, it has been speculated that the lack of enthusiastic interest in Frescobaldi both on the part of Enzo Bentivoglio and of the Mantuan court in 1615 suggests that he was unsuitable for operatic productions.
Girolamo’s receipt of a salary from Cardinal Barberini did not necessarily require regular personal attendance on the Cardinal. His status as a straordinario or non-resident member of Francesco’s household (along with Johann Hieronymus Kapsberger) resembled the servitù particolare of a painter or sculptor, who in return for his stipend was expected mainly to offer his patron the first refusal of completed works. Nonetheless, although there is no direct evidence to link Girolamo’s service with the performances of Cardinal Francesco’s household musica, Frescobaldi’s history as a performing musician—his keyboard performances for Francesco Borghese, Ferdinando Gonzaga, and the guests of Cardinal d’Este, his service in the musiche of the Bentivoglio, the Aldobrandini, and the Medici—suggests the small aristocratic concert or accademia as a typical milieu.
Girolamo’s choice of residence tends to support this hypothesis. In seventeenth-century Rome the Salita Magnanapoli was about as far from St. Peter’s as it was possible to live but convenient to Cardinal Francesco’s palace of the Cancelleria, the papal palace at the Quirinal, Taddeo’s palace in Via dei Giubbonari off Campo de’ Fiori, and Antonio’s palazzo at the Quattro Fontane. These various Barberini palaces housed a splendid assortment of keyboard instruments, so that a performer in their service had a choice of organs and harpsichords in a wide spectrum of ranges, registers, types, and national styles of building (see Chapter 11).
During the first years of Francesco Barberini’s cardinalate, 1623-30, his household increased from nine members at sc. 30.89 annually to 109 employees at sc. 366.50 (Völkel 1993, 63: only Salario payments). At the time of Frescobaldi’s entrance into the the cardinal’s service his famiglia included four resident musicians: three singers (Angelo Ferrotti, a castrato from the Cappella Pontificia, Paolo Cipriani, and Girolamo Zampetti) and the lutenist Antonio Maria Ciacchi. These household musicians formed the nucleus of Francesco’s private musica, which also included other instrumentalists and singers: a viol consort of six boy musicians (putti) under the supervision of Mazzocchi (fig. 11.11) performed regularly at select “accademie.” The repertory of the consort included not only music by composers of the Barberini circle but also works of Pomponio Nenna, Filippo di Monte, Gesualdo, and Monteverdi, among others.
The cultivation of a consort of viols in the Cardinal’s musical establishment is surprising in view of the general lack of interest in the viola da gamba in Italy and the ambiguity of the term “viola,” applied to members of the both the braccio and gamba families. Nonetheless, a chest of viols formed part of the Cardinal’s instrumentarium, and another (or the same?) appeared in Cardinal Antonio’s collection. In 1632 the Fleming Cherubino Waesich, who later performed as a continuo-player in Cardinal Francesco’s operatic productions, published a collection of five-part canzonas “… to play with the viole da gamba” (Canzoni à cinque… da sonarsi con le viole da gamba), followed by two concerted madrigals à 6.
Domenico Mazzocchi dedicated his important Madrigali à 5 of 1638, issued in both score and parts, to Cardinal Francesco. The composer lamented:
The most artful and intellectual study that Music has is that of Madrigals; but few today compose them, and even less are they sung, since for their misfortune they are little less than banished from the Academies… But you, to lighten your soul from the weight of your public offices, have been pleased at times to honor them [his madrigals] by hearing them sung to the Consort of your Viols.
And indeed the collection includes a lovely setting of Tasso’s “Chiudesti i lumi, Armida”
(Gerusalemme liberata XVI, 61), designated “Ruggiero a 5. per le Viole.” It is suggestive that the category Frescobaldi most enlarged in his 1634 reworking of the 1628 ensemble Canzoni was the canzona for four instruments and continuo, appropriate for viol consort.
Although Frescobaldi’s fame extended well beyond the boundaries of Italy in his last years, he had an outspoken critic in the Barberini circle itself, the musical theorist Giovanni Battista Doni (1595-1647). Doni had begun his career as Cardinal Francesco’s secretary, accompanying him on his nunciatures to France and Spain, and in 1629 had risen to the post of Secretary to the College of Cardinals.
The French musicologist Père Marin Mersenne (1588-1648), in his Harmonie universelle of 1636-37, had included “Fresco Baldi” with Marenzio and Monteverdi among “des autres excellens Compositeurs” not known to him personally. Even this limited recognition drew a heated denial from Doni (a contemporary noted “the not-too-moderate nature of Sig. Doni”). On 7 August 1638 Doni wrote to Mersenne:
Touching the fact that you put Frescobaldi on the level of the most esteemed musicians in Italy, along with Luca Marenzio and Monteverdi, you should not deceive yourself in this. For there are today in Rome a dozen musicians who are more esteemed than him. But being perhaps the most able man there is in Italy today for playing the organ and harpsichord and composing pieces for them, the ignorant deem that he has reached the height of this profession, although there is a good deal of difference between being a good melopoios or musician, and a good composer of instrumental pieces. For the rest I assure you that he is so little knowledgeable that he does not know what a major or a minor semitone is and hardly plays on the metabolic keys (which are commonly called chromatic). And when he doesn’t understand some slightly unusual word in vernacular poetry, he asks the opinion of his wife, who knows more about it than he does.
For Doni, the real musician was thus the melopoios, the theorist trained like himself in the musical lore of classical antiquity. Even Monteverdi did not escape criticism as being “after all, like most of them, of little understanding, precisely the opposite of the ancients.” Doni returned to the attack in a letter to Mersenne of 22 July 1640 concerning Mersenne’s musical examples for a treatise:
As to Frescobaldi, he is the least appropriate of all; seeing that he is a very coarse man, although he plays the organ perfectly and may be excellent for composing fantasies, dance music, and similar things; but for setting the words [accomoder les paroles], he is extremely ignorant and devoid of discrimination, so that one can say he has all his knowledge at the ends of his fingers. And I doubt not that he is more esteemed far from here than where he is.
Doni repeated the theme with variations in his treatise De præstantia musicæ veteris, published posthumously in 1647:
This Fresco-baldo of ours—we believe that no one has played the organ with greater ability, after Ercole Pasquini—, when some aria is sung at his house, the moment he runs into some word a bit out of the ordinary he immediately has to turn to his wife, so she can explain its substance and meaning to him. And yet there will probably not be lacking those who point to such a man, all of whose learning lies at his fingers’ ends, as the prince of the musicians of our time: “O foolish and senseless age.”
In his De præstantia musicæ veteris Doni went so far as to claim that “a certain ragged old man” had persuaded Frescobaldi to approve the equal temperament of semitones “against the judgment of his ears” by “frequent drinking-bouts gratis.” (The instrument in question was one of Cardinal Francesco’s two new organs for his titular church of San Lorenzo in Damaso: see Chapter 11.)
In 1640 Doni’s disciple Pietro Della Valle addressed a treatise to his friend and patron Lelio Guidiccioni, an influential member of the Barberini circle: Of the music of our times that it is no way inferior, indeed it is better than that of the past (Della musica dell’età nostra che non è punto inferiore, anzi è migliore di quella dell’età passata, 1640). Della Valle was moved to ask:
Has there not been a Hercules [Pasquini] of great fame in St. Peter’s? a Frescobaldi, still living, who even your Lordship confesses formerly made you marvel, and quite often moved you? And if today he employs another style with more galanteries in the modern fashion, which does not please Your Lordship so much, he must do so because he has learned by experience, that to give pleasure to people in general, this manner is more elegant, although less learnèd; and while [this manner] succeeds in giving true delight, the sound, and the player have no more to ask. In the same manner many and many others in our time do play, and have played the Organs very well…
What Della Valle may have meant by galanterie transpires from another passage in which he describes “some of the most excellent moderns who to the subtleties of counterpoint have known how to add to their sounds a thousand ornaments—trills, glissandi, syncopations, tremolos, feints of soft and loud and other similar galanterie little practiced by those of the past,” citing in the present time Kapsberger on the theorbo, Orazio [Michi] on the harp, and Michel’Angelo [Rossi] on the violin.
Della Valle’s assertion to Guidiccioni that Frescobaldi “made you marvel, and quite often moved you?” suggests a personal relationship. This is confirmed by Guidiccioni’s authorship of the dedication of the Liber secundus and by his testament, which specifies “The Arpicordo that Frescobaldi called ‘the Jewel’ (or ‘the Joy’: “L’Arpicordo chiamato dal Frescobaldi la Gioia”). Guidiccioni hung portraits of of Frescobaldi and of Antonio Cifra (d. 1629), maestro at the Holy House of Loreto and an emulator of Frescobaldi, associated with Frescobaldi in a performance at San Pietro in 1626, in a room of his house adjoining one containing a spinetta,: “A Portrait of Frescobaldi Organist with one hand in tela da testa of his head with a black border frame”; “A Portrait of Cifera [!] Organist in tela da testa with the head alone …” The inventory of Guidiciioni’s possessions also mentions a book of “Frescobaldi partitura della musica” (Morelli 2013, 64, who suggests an identification with the 1628 Canzoni of Guidiccioni’s fellow-Lucchese Bartolomeo Grassi).
The relationship between composer and letterato is confirmed by Arnaldo Morelli’s recent discovery that Guidiccioni ghost-wrote the Latin dedication of Frescobaldi’s Liber secundus diversarum modulationum to Cardinal Borghese (Morelli 2013). Frescobaldi’s appearance in the circle of Guidiccioni, one of the most literate men in Rome, an Accademico degli Umoristi, an intimate of Bernini and a moving spirit of Cardinal Scipione Borghese’s magnificent funeral for Paul V, further undermines Doni’s dismissal of Girolamo as intellectually minus habens.
In the midst of a busy performing career Frescobaldi found time to publish, with the financial support of Cardinals Francesco and Antonio Barberini, three important collections and to put the most significant portion of his earlier work in final form. The first of these publications to appear was the ensemble Canzoni, issued in 1634 by Vincenti of Venice with a dedication dated 10 January 1635 to Desiderio Scaglia (1567-1639), Cardinal of Cremona. The volume is by no means merely a reissue of the 1628 version; additions and deletions of some works and extensive alterations of others show a continuing development of Girolamo’s style as a composer of instrumental ensemble music (see Chapter 16). Frescobaldi’s only known connection with the rather grim Dominican cardinal was through Francesco Barberini and Guido Bentivoglio, fellow members with Scaglia of the tribunal that had recently condemned Galileo. Scaglia’s apartment in Piazza Fontana di Trevi did possess a music room furnished with a “harpsichord by [Boni da] Cortona with turned legs and a leather cover” (“cimbalo del Cortona con suoi piedi torniti e corame sopra”) valued at an upscale sc. 30, and fourteen chairs, as well as part of his notable picture collection (Gàl 2008, 92-93).
Frescobaldi’s Fiori musicali, published by Vincenti in 1635 with a dedication dated from Venice, 20 August 1635, represents his crowning effort as a composer of liturgical organ music. The three organ masses of the collection (the masses of Sunday, of the Apostles, and of the Madonna traditional since Girolamo Cavazzoni’s Intabulatura d’organo of the 1540s) in fact covered most of the requirements of the liturgical year. The collection is dedicated to “Cardinal Antonio Barberino”—as the arms on the title page indicate, the younger Antonio, not his uncle the austere Capuchin friar (cf. fig. 10.5). The dedicatory letter is a piece of official flattery, but in the chatty inconsequence of the subsequent address to the reader we seem to catch the authentic tones of Girolamo’s speech:
Having always been desirous (for that talent which has been granted me by God) to assist with my efforts the students of the said profession, I have always shown to the world with my Publications in tablature, & in partitura of every sort of caprices and inventions to give a sign of my desire, that everyone who sees and studies my works should remain content, & profited. With this book of mine I will say only that my principal goal is to assist Organists by having made such composition in such a style of playing, that they will be able to respond at Mass & at Vespers, a thing of much profit to them to know, and will also be able to use the said Versets at their pleasure, in the Canzonas ending in their Cadences as in the Ricercars, when they might seem too long; I deem it of great importance to performers, to practice [playing from] scores … 
The mass-selections of the Fiori thus complement the music for vespers included in the second book of toccatas. The Fiori has the further pedagogic aim of encouraging practice in reading from keyboard partitura or open score, “since such material almost like a touchstone distinguishes and reveals the true gold of actions of virtù from the Ignorant.” The Fiori is the only publication Girolamo expressly dedicated to a member of the Barberini family. The tunes of the Bergamasca and the Girolmetta, on which Frescobaldi based two capriccios, recur prominently in one of Cardinal Francesco’s Carnival operas for 1639, Virgilio Mazzocchi’s Chi soffre speri.
The Fiori musicali survives in numerous copies, although J. S. Bach’s manuscript (a scribal copy in which he merely entered his own name and the date 1714) was lost in World War II. The edition was successful enough to inspire almost immediate imitations. In 1642 Vincenti published Fra Antonio Croci’s Frutti musicali, a collection of organ masses and other works intended to prepare students, beginning with those too young to span an octave, to perform Frescobaldi’s works. In 1645 Vincenti issued Fra G. B. Fasolo’s Annuale, which contains organ music for both mass and vespers and concludes with four fugues on subjects prominently treated by Frescobaldi in the Fiori and Capricci: the Bergamasca, Girometta, Bassa Fiamenga, and Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La.
Girolamo’s continuing concern for his earlier productions is apparent in the re-editions of his two books of toccatas issued in Rome in 1637 by the versatile Nicolò Borbone, the first and presumably the second under the patronage of Cardinal Francesco Barberini: while the arms of Cardinal Francesco replace the Gonzaga arms on Toccate I, there is no overt sign of Barberini patronage on the reissue of Toccate II. (These re-editions would have been facilitated by the fact that by the terms of his contract with Borbone for the first book of toccatas Frescobaldi retained possession of the original plates.) An Aggiunta (Toccate I, p. 69) comprises the last keyboard works published by Frescobaldi during his lifetime, although the authenticity of the canzonas that Vincenti published posthumously in 1645 is now generally admitted. The Aggiunta contains balletti, correnti, passacagli, ciaccone, variations, and two programmatic capriccios, “La Battaglia” and “La pastorale.” For the sake of consistency, Girolamo removed the variations on the Ciaccona and the Passacagli from the reprint of Toccate II, since the same material had achieved its apotheosis in the Cento partite of the Aggiunta. Frescobaldi may have composed the Aggiunta in 1635-36 (perhaps on the music paper supplied to him from Cardinal Francesco’s household expenses?). At least some of the compositional process seems to have taken place while the Aggiunta was actually in press.
The question of Frescobaldi’s further development after these last publications is tantalizing, prompted by Della Valle’s observation to Guidiccioni:
And if today he employs another style with more galanteries in the modern fashion, which does not please your Lordship so much, he must do so because he has learned by experience, that to give pleasure to people in general, this manner is more elegant, although less learnèd; and while [this manner] succeeds in giving true delight, the sound, and the player have no more to ask.
Unfortunately, the only evidence to document such a stylistic development is to be found in manuscript works attributed to Frescobaldi. Immense strides have been made in the identification and study of Frescobaldi autographs in recent years by Alexander Silbiger, Claudio Annibaldi, Etienne Darbellay, and Christine Jeanneret, but these still are not sufficient to establish a stylistic chronology. Among the most significant manuscript sources are the codices now in the Chigi collection in the Vatican and an immense anthology of Italian keyboard music copied out between 1637 and 1640 in New German keyboard tablature and presented in a sumptuous format—clearly a commission from a wealthy German family, perhaps the great banking house of Fugger.
The manuscript circulation of both authentic and dubious works of Frescobaldi is an index of the growing celebrity that continued to bring him pupils. Most of Girolamo’s students, like the composer Luigi Battiferri and the publisher Giovanni Angelo Muti, are known only to specialists. (There is no evidence that Michel Angelo Rossi, often described as a pupil of Frescobaldi, ever studied with him: see Silbiger 1983.) But in 1637 Girolamo’s fame in the Germanic lands was such that a young court organist, Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-67), set out from Vienna in October of that year with a subsidy of two hundred florins granted by the Emperor. Froberger remained in Rome until March 1641; thus his stay coincided with the years of Frescobaldi’s best-documented activity as a performer. (Girolamo was so highly regarded in Germany in the decades after his death that the claim to have studied with him became something of a joke, which may explain why Johann Kaspar Kerll, Johann Heckelauer, and Franz Tunder have been mistakenly named as his pupils.)
In 1638 Giulio Rospigliosi’s younger brother, Bartolomeo, sent a young Pistoiese keyboardist, Valerio Spada, to study with Frescobaldi in Rome, under the supervision of Monsignor Giulio. On 20 March 1638 Giulio wrote: “I inform Bartolomeo that Spadi is well, and since Monday he began to go to study with Frescobaldi, and I have provided him with the spinet, however he is losing no time, and goes about listening to the music that they are making, which especially in Lent they do here in many places, and it is very good.” Giulio not only took Spada to the Lenten oratorio performances (very likely including the Crocifisso) but also to the papal functions of Holy Week and Easter (4 April: letter of 30 April 1638). Spada suffered from digestive problems aggravated by the Roman summer, but Giulio persuaded him to try a purge and to stay on in Rome, “for prolonging his stay for some time yet could bring him great profit in playing” (3 July 1638).
Although Froberger, Borboni, Grassi, Crivellati, Roncagli, Lucia Coppa, Nigetti, Battiferri, and Spada, are musicians whose study with Frescobaldi is confirmed by contemporary documentation, he was closely associated with other keyboardists and composers in performances. These included Francesco Mutij, organist at San Luigi de’ Francesi 1623-26, S. Maria in Araceli 1626-64, and Santa Maria Maggiore 1643-64; Giovanni Battista Ferrini (ca. 1600-74), organist at San Luigi 1619-23 and of the Chiesa Nuova 1628-53, and a specialist in playing the “spinetta” (Morelli 1994); Leonardo Castellani (d. 1667), choirboy at Santo Spirito 1619-21 and organist of the Lateran basilica 1641-67, whose musical library passed more or less accidentally into the hands of the Chigi family and contains material that is now identified as autographs of Frescobaldi.
More recent investigations have also suggested the names of Antonio Melendez and Tomasso Luna (contralto in the Cappella Giulia 1625-27, organist at Santa Maria in Trastevere 1629-30 and 1633-35, maestro di cappella there 1630-31) as members of Frescobaldi’s musical entourage. In his preface to the sonetti in praise of Frescobaldi, the composer and singer Pietro Paolo Sabbatini called Girolamo his former teacher (“già mio Maestro”). The publisher Giovanni Angelo Muti in his preface to the Vespertina psalmodia of Tullio Cima (Rome, 1673) also claimed to be Frescobaldi’s pupil and singled out “playing from Score, and making three-part Counterpoints” as elements in his youthful training. Frescobaldi’s warm commendation of Monsignor Luigi Gallo’s keyboard performance, validated by contemporary testimony, as representing precisely the qualities needed for Toccate II suggests that Gallo also may have been his student and perhaps even an inspiration for the volume.
THE ORATORIO DEL CROCIFISSO
Frescobaldi’s career as organist of the Cappella Giulia, household musician to the Barberini, and teacher continued the activities of his earlier years. In this last decade, however, he also appeared prominently in a new milieu, the oratorio and public concert, at the Oratorio del Crocifisso, one of the most celebrated musical institutions of seventeenth-century Rome. The Arciconfraternita del Santissimo Crocifisso di San Marcello originated in the devotion to a crucifix which miraculously survived a fire in the church of San Marcello on the Corso in 1519, its lamp still burning. In gratitude for the intercession of the relic in the plague of 1522 a group of Roman prelates and nobles founded a society, later a confraternity, of the Holy Cross. Its statutes were confirmed by Clement VII Medici in 1526 and in 1554 by Julius III del Monte, who added the right of freeing a condemned prisoner every year on a feast of the Holy Cross.
The organization grew rapidly in wealth and influence. In April of 1560 the members began the construction of a church designed by Giacomo della Porta. Its first stone was laid by Cardinal Ranuccio Farnese on 10 May 1562, the octave of the Invention of Holy Cross, to the sound of “music, trumpets, and artillery.” In 1564 Pius IV Medici raised the confraternity to the status of an archconfraternity in the presence of Cardinal Carlo Borromeo. Della Porta’s oratorio, completed in 1568 with the financial support of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese,
is a simple, barn-like structure on a rectangular plan … the emphasis is undoubtedly on the large unobstructed area of the nave … a platform running the whole width of the oratory elevates and distinguishes the altar wall … composite pilasters supporting an entablature frame the chapel visually, whose opening is further stressed by the central arch and the vertical alignment of blind windows and secondary side doors.
A large gallery for an organ was placed above the door opposite the altar wall. The instrument was built by Francesco Palmieri and was in place by 1582. In 1578-82 the chapel was decorated with a fresco cycle depicting the history and miracles of the True Cross, planned by Michelangelo’s beloved Tommaso de’ Cavalieri and executed by a number of artists including Cristoforo Roncalli/Pomarancio (d. 1626, fig. 10.12).
In 1639 the French viola da gamba virtuoso André Maugars (c. 1580-c. 1645) devoted an entire section to the Crocifisso and its music in his Answer to an Inquiring Person, on the Feeling for Music in Italy. Written at Rome 1 October 1639 (Response faite à un Curieux, sur le Sentiment de la Musique d’ Italie. Escrite à Rome le premier Octobre 1639). The Archconfraternity, Maugars says, was composed of “the greatest nobles of Rome” (“les plus grands seigneurs de Rome”). These included the Marchese Cesi, the Duca Altemps, and members of the Borghese, Cesarini, Cavalieri, Mattei, and Capo di Ferro families, “who have power to gather all that is most rare that Italy produces.”
Devotional societies like the Crocifisso quite openly presented outstanding musical performances as a means of attracting crowds, “to draw the sinners with a sweet deception.” While St. Philip Neri’s Oratorio at the Chiesa Nuova became a center of sacred music with Italian texts, the Crocifisso specialized in the Latin oratorio, the concertato motet, and instrumental music. At the end of each year the governors chose a well-known maestro to supervise the music for the following Lent (Paolo Quagliati in 1608, Stefano Landi in 1611, Ruggero Giovannelli in 1612, Virgilio Mazzocchi in 1634 and 1639, Orazio Benevoli in 1638, and Francesco Foggia in 1641). The music was presented on five Friday afternoons in Lent between three and six. (The number of five Fridays is obtained by counting from the first Sunday in Lent and omitting Good Friday, since Holy Week was listed separately in the Crocifisso accounts.) Celebrated preachers were also selected to give sermons each week (in seventeenth-century Rome hearing sermons was not only a duty but also an entertainment), which were placed between the two halves of the music. The prestige of the concerts was enormous: “… the most excellent Musicians are proud to be there, and the most accomplished composers bid for the honor of having their compositions heard there, and they strive to show all the best of their work.”
After praising Roman church music (“Motets”), Maugars continued:
But there is still another sort of Music, not at all in use in France, and for that reason it well deserves that I make a special account for you. That is called recitative style. The best that I have heard is in the Oratorio of San Marcello… The church is not as large as the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, at the end of which there is a spacious Gallery with an Organ of medium size, very sweet and very suitable for the voices.
Palmieri’s positive organ in the loft over the door had a 14’ flute principal (i.e. sounding an octave below normal pitch), indeed “very sweet and fitting to the voices.” The instrument was maintained by the organ builder and technician Ennio Bonifatij, Frescobaldi’s colleague at St. Peter’s, who performed at least one major renovation. An undated bill (probably 1636-38) is headed “List of the work done to the 14 foot Organ in the Oratorio of San Marcello” (“Lista delli lavori fatti al Organo di 14 Piedi che sta Nell’Oratorio di S.o Marcello).” The pipes were cleaned and
the lead which serves for tuning [was] replaced, regluing those [pipes] which were unglued, and recomposed and tuned to the pitch of the other organs in the said Oratorio / Five pipes redone the Largest of 14 feet with walnut fonelli / an iron Pipe under the keyboard to play the [pulldown] Pedals was Redone.
The accounts of the Crocifisso frequently mention the transport of smaller rented or borrowed organs. In 1643 the Oratorio decided to purchase a portative from Bonifatij under the guidance of Marchese Cesi, one of the guardians:
21 February 1643 … The aforesaid Sig. Marchese was delegated to establish the purchase of the organetto with Sig.re Ennio [Bonifatij] the organ builder, and Sig.r Francesco Bianchi [was delegated] to make an estimate of how much the organ is worth.
2 January 1644: to the Sig. Cavalier Ennio [Bonifatij] … fifteen scudi in cash to the account of the price of a portative organ bought for our oratorio…
Francesco Bianchi (1601-68), delegated to appraise the organetto, was a notable tenor, a member of the Cappella Pontificia (imposed by Urban VIII in 1625) who also appeared in operas sponsored by both Francesco and Taddeo Barberini. Bianchi not only performed at the Oratorio but also supervised the music on occasion (e.g., vespers of the Holy Cross for 1637-41). In 1640 he self-published a Raccolta d’arie spirituali for one to three voices and continuo, dedicated to Mons. Vincenzo Costaguti (1612-60, cardinal in 1643), a musically erudite rising young cleric. Bianchi described his collection as “the work of the foremost composers of this Age” (“opera de’ primi huomini di questo Secolo”: Franchi 2006, 1640/7)—a not unjustified boast, since they included Vittori, Luigi Rossi, Domenico and Virgilio Mazzocchi, Oratio Mihi, Domenico Massentio, and Marco Marazzoli.
While the employment of organs at the Crocifisso occasions no surprise, it is more unusual that the harpsichord formed a regular part of the instrumental ensemble there as early as 1611. During the period that Frescobaldi performed there—at the harpsichord, not the organ—two cembali were generally employed. In 1637 the harpsichord-builder Giovanni Battista Boni da Cortona, who also looked after the Barberini instruments, was paid for tuning “the Harpsichord: and another on the occasion of the Music made on the Fridays of March.” The principal instrument seems to have belonged to Marchese Cesi: in 1639 “… the harpsichord from San Pietro and the spinet with the harpsichord of the Marchese” were transported (Palazzo Cesi is located in Borgo near St. Peter’s). Payments in 1640: “for carrying the harpsichords”; 1641: “… for the carrying of two harpsichords and a spinet … And for bringing and returning two harpsichords and a spinet by Cortona.” The spinet was probably employed not for the basso continuo but for figural embellishment, as suggested in Agazzari 1607 and followed by Frescobaldi in his two toccatas for spinettina or lute in Grassi’s 1628 edition of the Canzoni. Two of the keyboardists employed by the Crocifisso, Giovanni Battista Ferrini and Franceschino Muzi/Mutij, who succeeded Ferrini as organist of S. Luigi dei Francesi, were identified as spinetta players (Jeanerette 2006, 497).
The surviving records of the Crocifisso do not permit a connected account of its musical activities and of Frescobaldi’s participation in them after his return to Rome. In 1634 the music was directed by Virgilio Mazzocchi, maestro of the Cappella Giulia, who later entered the service of Cardinal Francesco Barberini. The only reference to music in the materials from 1635 is a bill from Bonifatij for “adjusting, repairing, and dusting” the organ. In March 1636 he rented to the Crocifisso a portative for the Lenten music and was paid sc. 15 “for the repair of the 16’ wood organ in the Oratorio.” On 2 May 1636 the Oratorio paid sc. 1.50 “for having made the Platform for the Music in S. Marcello.” In 1637 Cortona was paid “for tuning the Harpsichord; and another on the occasion of the Music made on the Fridays of March.” In 1638 the Lenten music was directed by Orazio Benevoli, organist and maestro di cappella at Frescobaldi’s sometime church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, and Cortona was again employed to tune the harpsichords. Only an unitemized receipt dated 5 March for payment of sc. 135.60 to musicians for the weeks of Lent survives for that year.
The documentation for 1639, when Mazzocchi was paid sc. 20 to direct the music, is unusually full. Bonifatij was paid ten scudi for the transport (and rental?—moving alone would have cost less than one scudo) of an organ “used for the five Fridays in Lent.” A spinetta and two harpsichords were also moved. Two portable enclosures (coretti, “little choirs”), one opposite the other, were set up for the musicians. The performances themselves were described in an eyewitness account by André Maugars (see below). Although the singers Marc’Antonio Pasqualini and Loreto Vittori are not named in the surviving 1639 financial records, they may have performed that season since Maugars singled them out for special mention: “Among the excellent [castrati] the Cavaliere Loreto [Vittori] and Marc’ Antonio [Pasqualini] hold the first rank” (“Parmy les excellens [castrats], le chevallier Loretto, et Marco-Antonio tiennent le premier rang”: 1639, 35-36).
The accounts for 1640 provide the most complete documentation of Girolamo’s association with the Crocifisso: a sheet listing the “Musicians paid by me Jacopo Rubieri secretary the Fridays of Lent for the music made in the oratorio of the Most Holy Crucifix.” The vocal forces for the first Friday, 2 March, consisted of four sopranos and pairs of contraltos, tenors, and basses. The two harpsichords (sc.-20 “per portatura dei cimboli,” “for carrying the harpsichords”) were played by Frescobaldi, who was paid sc. 1.20, and “Gio:batta”[Ferrini], paid sc. 1. The organists were Francesco Mutij and “Margarino,” perhaps the “Margonini” who played in the 1637 feast of the Dedication at S. Pietro. (Jeanneret 2006 equates him with a “Vincenzo” in the Cappella Giulia records although the two names never appear together.) The instrumental group comprised three lutes, a violone, a lira, and two violins.
The second Friday in Lent, 9 March, at which Frescobaldi did not appear, featured Vittori and Pasqualini, the ranking castrati of the day, at sc. 3.05 each, with additional pairs of sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses. An otherwise unidentified organist of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini (perhaps Alessandro Costantini, organist there at least until 1616?) replaced Frescobaldi at the first harpsichord with Ferrini at the second cembalo, while Mutij and Margarino again served as organists: the other forces duplicated those of the preceding week. The two great castrati again appeared on the third Friday, 16 March, with Frescobaldi (sc. 1.20) and Ferrini at the harpsichords, Mutij and Margarino as organists. Only Pasqualini sang the fourth Friday, 23 March; keyboardists were Frescobaldi and Ferrini, Mutij and Margarino. Neither castrato appeared on Passion Friday, 30 March, while Frescobaldi and Ferrini, Mutij and Margarino again played harpsichords and organs. The vocal and instrumental ensembles remained the same for the last three Fridays: three sopranos, pairs of altos, tenors, and basses; and three lutes, a violone, a lira, and two violins.
Three days later, on 2 April 1640, Monday in Holy Week [Lunedì Santo], Pietro Della Valle premiered his Dialogo di Ester at the Crocifisso. Virgilio Mazzocchi played Della Valle’s “Cembalo Hessarmonico [!]” and directed the performance, “Filippo francese” played the “Violone Panarmonico,” and Jacomo Saccardi the “three violins of the three harmonies.” The singers, associted with the Barberini and/or the Cappella Pontificia, comprised the bass Bartolomeo Niccolini (Assuero), the tenor Francesco Bianchi (Mardocheo), the tenor Giovannino (Poeta), the contralto Mario Savioni (Aman), and the soprano castrato [Gregorio] Lazzarini (Esther). A boy singer of Mazzocchi’s replaced Savioni as alto in the choruses, implying that the other soloists made up the chorus.
In 1641 the Lenten music was directed by Francesco Foggia (1603-88), maestro di cappella at at the Lateran. The carrying back and forth of a spinet of Cortona and two harpsichords suggests that Frescobaldi continued to perform at the principal keyboard. At the end of the year the confraternity members elected Cardinal Pier Maria Borghese (great-nephew of Paul V, cardinal 1624) as Cardinal Protector of the Crocifisso (F XIX 25). His possesso was celebrated on Epiphany, 6 January 1642, but unfortunately he died on the following 15 June.
The payment records for 1642 and 1643 are scanty, but the 1644 records are quite detailed (A XII 102, REG.ro DE MANDATI, 1641-47, and F XIX 26). They identify instrumentalists who may have participated anonymously in previous years: “Leonardo,” Frescobaldi’s pupil Castellani; [Francesco] “Boccalino della lira,” organist of San Giovanni in Laterano and theorbist in the service of Cardinal Pier Maria Borghese; “Pellegrino” [Sacchi]; and “Carlo [Caproli] del violino.”
This piecemeal archival record of the Lenten performances is filled out by André Maugars’ account of the music for 1639 in his Response faite à un Curieux. He names the Crocifisso as the best place to hear music in recitative style, “not at all in use in France.” This style was embodied in Latin role oratorios on subjects from the Old Testament and Gospel texts appropriate to Lent:
The voices began with a Psalm in the form of a Motet, and then all the instruments played a very fine symphonie. Afterward the voices sang a Story from the Old Testament, in the form of a spiritual drama, like that of Susanna, of Judith and Holofernes, of David and Goliath. Each singer represented a character in the Story and expressed perfectly well the force of the words. Following that, one of the most celebrated preachers gave the homily. When that was finished, the Music recited the Gospel of the day, like the story of the woman of Samaria, the woman of Canaan, Lazarus, the Magdalen, and the Passion of Our Lord: the Singers imitating perfectly the various personages described by the Evangelist.
These dialogue-oratorios were performed by a small group of singers, two on a part for choruses, with extra sopranos who were apparently soloists. They were accompanied by two violins and a large body of continuo instruments: two harpsichords, a spinet, two organs, three lutes, a lira, a violone, and an “Arcibasso” (probably a double-bass gamba). The continuo forces may have been divided up and allotted to different performers for dramatic or affective characterization, as in the works of Cavalieri and Monteverdi. From Maugars’ reference to the organ for accompanying singers it seems they were placed in the loft over the entrance: at the performance of Della Valle’s Dialogo di Ester in 1640, Cardinal Crescenzi, being the only cardinal present, “did not sit down below, but up in the Choir of the Singers” (“non stette giù da basso, ma sù dal Choro de’ Musici”: Ziino 1967, 108).
Instrumentalists, on the other hand, seem to have been placed in the body of the church. “On the two sides of the Church there are also two other small Platforms [petites tribunes], where there were the most excellent of the instrumental Music … As to the Instrumental Ensemble, it was composed of an Organ, a large Harpsichord, a Lira, two or three Violins, and two or three Archlutes.”
The petites tribunes, facing each other, were presumably the “Coretti” mentioned in inventories of the Oratorio. The “little Coretti” containing two organs listed in 1653 appeared in an 1687 inventory as “Two little Coretti for Music, carved, gilded with pictures[;] similar Vases in the Oratorio with their covers of green cloth… ” The Coretti were moved or assembled and disassembled as occasion demanded.
After the opening motet of the afternoon the instruments played “a fine symphonie,” a generic ensemble instrumental piece. Maugars goes on to describe a variety of instrumental effects more specifically:
Sometimes a Violin played alone with the Organ, and then another answered; another time all three played different parts together, and then all the instruments took up together.
These instrumental episodes also included improvisations over held bass notes:
Sometimes an Archlute made a thousand variations on ten or twelve notes, each note of five or six measures; then the other played the same thing, although differently. I remember that a Violin played the pure chromatic [genus] and although at first it seemed very rough to my ear, nonetheless bit by bit I got accustomed to this new manner, and took great pleasure in it.
Maugars leaves no doubt as to the identity of the principal instrumentalist: “But above all the great Friscobaldi displayed a thousand sorts of inventions on his Harpsichord, the Organ always holding firm.” The phrase, “l’Orgue tenant tousiours ferme,” is vague, but it has now been explained by the discovery in the Düben collection in Uppsala of concerted instrumental pieces in which written-out sections for the entire ensemble are indeed interspersed with “ten or twelve notes, each note of five or six measures,” bass notes above which single instruments are directed to improvise.
Maugars’ concluding eulogy stresses Frescobaldi’s skill as an improviser:
It is not without cause that this famous organist of St. Peter’s has acquired so much fame in Europe; because, although his printed works give great witness of his ability, nonetheless in order to judge his profound knowledge it is necessary to hear him improvise toccatas full of contrapuntal devices and admirable inventions. That is why he well deserves your proposing him as a model to all our organists, to make them want to come to hear him in Rome.
Did Girolamo also participate as a composer? A setting attributed to Frescobaldi of a Lamentation for Maundy Thursday was included in a manuscript of Roman liturgical and devotional music for Holy Week, Easter, and the Easter season (Bologna Q 43; see Catalogue III.B.6). Many of the contents are anonymous, but the named composers include the architect Carlo Rainaldi, Marco Marazzoli, Bonifazio Graziani, and Francesco Foggia—all Romans. (Monteverdi also appears, in the form of a contrafactum of the Lamento di Arianna as a Lamento della Madalena.) Marazzoli’s oratorios were performed at the Chiesa Nuova, but both Foggia and Graziani were associated with the Crocifisso, where Foggia directed the Lenten music for 1641 and Graziani supervised the music for the Holy Year of 1650. Since the contents of the manuscript seem to date about 1640-50, it is possible that Frescobaldi’s Lamentation setting, if genuine, is one of his later works and was intended for performance at the Crocifisso (for another possibility see Chapter 9).
Most of Frescobaldi’s activity in his last decade—his publications and his performances at St. Peter’s, in Cardinal Francesco’s household, and at the Crocifisso—was directly or indirectly connected with the Barberini. As these years revealed, the family’s power was increasingly challenged. Their administration of the papacy, while an artistic triumph, was a financial and political disaster compounded by bad weather, scarcity of food, high prices and taxes, floods, war, and epidemics. Only the life of their ageing uncle (he had suffered a stroke already in 1637) stood between the Barberini nephews and ruin. The final catastrophe was precipitated in 1641 by Urban VIII’s seizure of the fief of Castro, the property of the Duke of Parma, the bellicose and obese Odoardo Farnese (1612-46), head of the family which provided both the model and the greatest rivals of the Barberini for the aggrandizement of a papal clan. The pope’s annexation of the fief and his excommunication of Farnese provoked a backlash, an alliance of northern Italian states against the papacy. Despite the enormous sums that had been poured into the hands of Taddeo and Antonio Barberini, the papal forces—when there were any—were largely unarmed and unprovisioned and were no match for the army of the Duke, advancing on Rome.
Francesco Nigetti’s nephew Hippolito described life in the City during Parma’s siege in a series of vivid letters to his uncle in Florence. The papal troops withdrawn from the north were billeted on the citizens (2 November 1641):
This week there came to Rome a great part of the Soldiers from Viterbo and Castro, to stay in this City. One part they have put here close to us and the other at S. Pietro, and where the soldiers are now they have made all the tenants of these houses leave even if they were the owners themselves who lived in the said houses, and they have made Gates at the ends of the streets in order to keep them all locked up inside, so that they don’t go around Rome at night. In daytime you see nothing but Soldiers, and they also say that there are others to join them, that these are not all, because they have great suspicion …
The Prince Prefect, Don Taddeo Barberini, who was theoretically responsible for the defense of Rome, hurried north to defend Ferrara:
The Prince Prefect left Rome for Ferrara on the day of Sts. Simon and Jude [28 October], when it rained as hard as it could and lasted all day: because they say that the Venetians have cut the Po river to flood all Ferrara and he has gone to remedy these difficulties.
By 1642 the situation was so far beyond control that on 25 September the pope abandoned his town palace of the Quirinal and retired into the Vatican: from there a covered passage, the passetto, led to the relative safety of Castel Sant’Angelo, where the papal treasury was stored. Fearing an invasion, the terrified citizens formed a militia (4 October 1642):
… by the grace of God we have hope that they will not enter Rome because they are making great warnings and if Your Lordship saw it you would be amazed, every one girds on sword and dagger and this morning my Father had to go to acknowledge the Captain of our Rione. Without the soldiers of the City, they say that there are eighty thousand, although there isn’t one of them worth a dried fig since the greater part of them are all juvenile delinquents, good for nothing … every one is afraid, and the banks are locked and no longer pay anyone…
11 October 1642:
… they go about the city all day playing drums to inform now this rione, now that other one… the Pope knows that his nephews have been a good part of this evil.
Unexpectedly, the Duke of Parma retreated from Rome, which he could easily have taken, and the citizens were spared a repetition of the sack of 1527.
The War of Castro was not the only sign that the world in which Frescobaldi lived and worked was breaking up. In 1637 Donna Olimpia Aldobrandini died, the matriarch “who in the time of her pope ruled Rome at her pleasure and was the mother of princes and cardinals.” With the death of Cardinal Ippolito Aldobrandini the following year the family became extinct in the male line. Guido Bentivoglio, whose career, like Frescobaldi’s, had owed much to the Aldobrandini, was moved to reflect in a long threnody that “Death mows impartially with his inexorable scythe, and brings down every human life, every earthly exaltation.” On 25 November of 1639 Guido’s brother Enzo died in Rome.
Throughout this period of political upheaval Girolamo continued to perform at St. Peter’s, drawing his salaries for January and February of 1643 and signing the receipts himself (fig. 10.13). A household ruolo of Don Taddeo Barberini for January of 1643 records the respectable sum of sc. 6 monthly paid to “Girolamo Frescobaldi who teaches the Signorini (Taddeo’s young sons Carlo [b. 1630], Maffeo [b. 1631], and Nicolò [b. 1635]) to play.” (Two manuscripts bearing the Barberini arms, BAV Barb. lat. 4181 and 4182, have been identified as Frescobaldi autographs for the use of Don Nicolò and Don Carlo: Jeanneret 2009, 266-71, an ascription contested by Annibaldi 2012, 241).
On 19 February, just before a fresh outbreak of rumors of war, Frescobaldi was seized with a high fever. He received the last rites and died on the night of Sunday, 1 March. Although he was resident in the parish of San Lorenzo de’ Monti, his body was hurriedly carried to the basilica of the Holy Twelve Apostles on Piazza Colonna, where his son Domenico had been baptized, and was interred there on Monday morning. Frescobaldi’s requiem mass was sung by “the principal musicians of this city”—perhaps his colleagues at St. Peter’s or the Congregazione di Santa Cecilia. (According to Pitoni 1847, Frescobaldi was buried in the basilica’s chapel of the Santo Spirito. His tomb was destroyed in the general reconstruction of the church in the early eighteenth century, but a memorial plaque dedicated in the portico in 1943 and a spurious memorial slab has been placed in the church.)
The Roman archives have so far failed to yield a will for either Girolamo or his widow. After Frescobaldi’s death his family moved to Borgo Vecchio, renting a house belonging to the Cappella Giulia facing Palazzo Cesi, presumably for Domenico’s easier access to St. Peter’s. (Appointed a chierico benefitiato on 1 April 1635, Domenico was promoted to benefitiato on 1 August of 1655 with a monthly salary of sc. 35; he became a camerlengo minore in 1679.) On 25 May 1649 Stefano Frescobaldi died, followed on 3 October 1651 by Orsola del Pino. Margherita (=Maddalena) de Pinis died 4 January 1669. In 1683 Caterina Frescobaldi wrote Prince Pamphilj, the heir of the Aldobrandini, for permission to invest the money from the forced sale of her parents’ house sixty-five years before. She died on 10 December 1687, apparently mentally disturbed (“cum esset demens”). With the death of Domenico Frescobaldi on 25 August 1688 Girolamo’s posterity became extinct.
Frescobaldi’s central role in the formation of seventeenth-century Italian keyboard style was recognized by his contemporaries. In his Discorsi e regole (ca. 1659) Don Severo Bonini asserted that Frescobaldi
has made, as they say, an ‘anatomy’ [a detailed examination] of Music by having discovered a new manner of playing Gravicembali in particular. As everyone knows, this manner has been adopted by the whole world so that today no one is regarded highly who does not play according to his style. Witness to this is his reputation and fame, that resounds everywhere, and his works in manuscript and print, where there are toccatas, Ruggieros, Romanescas, Monacas, passacagli, canzoni Francesi, solemn ricercars in four-part score, where one sees a marvelous skill.” 
Although Antimo Liberati (1617-92), writing in 1684, attacked Frescobaldi as “indeed unfortunate and inept” (“infelice ed inetto affatto” ) in vocal writing, he acknowledged him as “the wonder of the keyboard, both with his hands and with the pen, as so many of his writings and his prints demonstrate.” 
The question of Frescobaldi’s influence on subsequent keyboard composers has generally been answered, “post Frescobaldum, ergo propter Frescobaldum.” However, a closer examination of the Italian keyboard collections published after Frescobaldi’s death reveals a variety of responses to his work. Frescobaldi’s keyboard music exerted a vital influence for over a century after his death. His immediate successors continued to compose in the genres he had rendered exemplary, a few of them even attempting the moribund ricercar, and his name was routinely attached to anonymous manuscript pieces and collections.
Two collections published soon after the Fiori musicali already show the influence of that volume. In 1641 Don Giovanni Salvatore (3 Oct. 1611-ca. 1668), organist of the Neapolitan Benedictine church and monastery of San Severino, issued a collection of Ricercari a quattro voci, canzoni francesi, toccate, et versi per rispondere nelle Messe con l’Organo al Choro (Naples: Beltrano), which he dedicated to his compatriot the great singer Adriana Basile in an address of dizzying Baroque rhetoric. The contents of the Ricercari include ricercars on the eight modes “con due, tre, quattro fughe,” the fourth on an unidentified cantus firmus and the last on the hymn Iste Confessor. Of the four Canzoni francesi the last is on the Bergamasca, the two phrases of the melody being treated as subjects of a sectional variation-canzona. Two extended toccatas presenting the options of B-natural and B-flat display clear harmonic structures with figural animation and a variety of imitative and non-imitative textures.
The verses “for the Organ to respond to the Choir at the Masses” cover the standard three masses: Sunday, Apostles (doubles), Madonna. Salvatore’s treatment of the genre is much more coherent than Frescobaldi’s in the Fiori. For the Kyrie della Domenica, Salvatore provides precisely the five organ versets necessary for an alternatim performance beginning with the choir: [chant Kyrie i] 1) Kyrie ii: the chant in the bass in breves against upper voices derived from the chant [cjant Kyrie iii] 2) Christe i: imitative, all parts derived from the chant [chant Christe ii] 3) Christe iii: imitative, highly chromatic 4) Kyrie: 3/4, imitative [chant Kyrie] 5) Kyrie: toccata-like conclusion. Short alternatum verses in a variety of styles are provided for the Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus sections of the three masses.
Its very title proclaims the Frutti musicali, the work of one Fra Antonio Croci, a Minorite Friar born in the Este dukedom of Modena but active in Bologna, as the sequel to the Fiori musicale. The Frutti was published in 1642 by Vincenti of Venice with a dedication to the Duke of Modena (Francesco I d’Este, 1610-58, the subject of portraits by Velasquéz and Bernini). In his preface Croci affirms that the contents of the collection “will help greatly in facilitating [performing] the Compositions of the Most Illustrious Signor Gerolamo Frescobaldi who is so excellent in this profession” (“giouarà grandemente per facilitare le Compositioni del Molto Illustre Signor Gerolamo Frescobaldi tanto eccele[n]te in questa professione”). Croci refers to his students and notes: “I have wished to make the First Mass for those who cannot reach an octave” (“Hò voluto far la Prima Messa per quelli, che non ariuano all’ottaua”); he clarifies this by marking the Toccata which introduces the first eight Kyrie verses (Messa della Madonna) as “Mass for the Boys who can use the Pedals for the last notes of this Introit” (“Messa per li Puti quali potrano seruirsi delli Pedali nel ultime note di questo Introito”). Another short toccata introduces eight alternate verses for the Gloria, the last ending with a florid cadence. Versets for the Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus are followed by five canzonas, some of remarkable crudity, and a non-very-chromatic ricercar (Bb, C, F, G#). The musical level of the Frutti rises with the versets for the Sunday mass and the Messa Doppia (Apostles): counterpoint is tighter and idiomatic keyboard figuration is employed more freely. The collection ends with three chromatic ricercari. The subjects of the first two are reciprocal, descending and ascending, while the third moves to a rhythmic climax.
Giovanni Battista Fasolo’s Yearbook, which contains all that an organist must do, to respond to the choir for the whole year (Annuale, che contiene tutto quello che deve far un organista, per risponder al choro tutto Panno [Venice: Vincenti, 1645]) combines Banchieri’s didactic and comprehensive approach to the liturgical year with Frescobaldian references: modally organized groups of magnificats, ricercari and canzoni, and fughe on subjects treated in the Capricci and Fiori musicali: Bergamasca, Girometa, Bassa Fiamenga, and Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La. Scipione Giovanni’s two volumes of Intavolatura di cembalo, et organo (Venice: Vincente, 1652) are lost except for manuscript copies of their prefaces, which describe the contents as consisting of the same genres as Frescobaldi’s publications: toccatas, capriccios, hymns, correnti and gagliarde, balleti, ciaccone, passacagli, romanesca.
The Correnti of the blind Venetian organist Michele Pesenti, published in 1645 by Frescobaldi’s Venetian publisher Vincenti but written earlier, contains some of the genres cultivated by Frescobaldi, such as the corrente, gagliarda, and balletto. However, the conception of Pesenti’s collection in terms of two specific enharmonic harpsichords, one designed by Zarlino and built by Domenico da Pesaro in 1548, and a Transuntino instrument of 1601, places them well outside the printed Frescobaldian context. Although Frescobaldi was known for his performances on such instruments, no written examples of his “secret enharmonic art” survive.
Bernardo Storace’s Collection of various compositions for harpsichord and organ in intavolatura (Selva di varie compositioni d’intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo [Venice, 1664[) represents the only surviving post-Frescobaldi publication engraved on copper (Scipione Giovanni claimed that his lost first book was also engraved). Storace’s Selva is much more selective and allusive in its relation to Frescobaldi’s work than are Scipione Giovanni’s two volumes. 
Luigi Battiferri’s collection of twelve Ricercari (Bologna: Monti, 1669) forms an explicit homage to the Ferrarese tradition of learned contrapuntal keyboard writing as represented by Luzzaschi, Milleville, Ercole Pasquini, “and lastly the most celebrated Girolamo Frescobaldi, Prodigy of Organists, inventor of so many styles of playing, and my Master” (“…e per ultimo il celebratissimo Girolamo Frescobaldi, Mostro delli Organisti, inventor di tanti stili di suonare e mio Maestro”). In the preface to his equally retrospective volume of twelve Ricercari (Rome: Mutij, 1677), Fabritio Fontana pointed out that no one in Rome had published such a collection in half a century. The Capricci da sonare cembali et organi of Don Gregorio Strozzi (Naples: de Bonis, 1687), which closes the circle of post-Frescobaldian publications, also shows a movement away from Frescobaldi as a model.
In the 1660s Frescobaldi’s direct influence began to wane, and his authentic works began to be collected and treated as models of an historical style. As early as 1628 Grassi had recommended Frescobaldi’s works as a basic model repertory for the keyboard player, and in 1642 Croci published his Frutti to prepare students for their study. But it was Bernardo Pasquini (whose first keyboard works are preserved in a manuscript copied in the 1660s) who elevated Frescobaldi to the rank of a pedagogical authority. Pasquini did purchase a reprint of the first book of Toccate (the 1628 edition) in 1662, but a manuscript of the rarer Fantasie supposedly copied by Pasquini “for his own use” is inauthentic (see Catalogue I.A.3b and I.A.1). Pasquini’s general familiarity with Frescobaldi’s music sometimes resulted in virtually literal quotation in his own works. Ludovico Fuga (1643-1722) in his testament of 1721 carefully enumerated “The Fantasie of Frescobaldi printed in partitura, the first work of so great a composer” (“Le Fantasie del Frescobaldi stampate in partitura, prima opera di si grande autore”) and a copy of the first book of toccatas, “which I know cost my father a good deal” (“so esser assai costato a mio padre.”)
Other Italian teachers, such as Lorenzo Penna (Li primi albori musicali, 1684) and Pasquini’s pupil Francesco Gasparini (L’armonico pratico al cimbalo, 1708), followed his practice of commending the study of Frescobaldi to their pupils. Penna:
No less must I teach here, how the student of this Profession should guide himself in responding to the Choir at Mass, vespers, Compline, & other things in plain Chant; since there are in print so many fine Ricercari, Toccatas, Canzonas, Capricci &c. of Worthy Men, such as of an Urbino of Bologna [Cavazzoni], of a Luzzasco Luzzaschi, of a Girolamo Frescobaldi, & others, I should not be prolix; therefore I refer the Beginners, to consult the aforesaid Authors, & in particular Girolamo Frescobaldi, who was the Wonder of his time in this profession; as well as with the knowledge of the second book, the Student can form by himself: Versets, Toccatas, Canzonas, &c.
Gasparini: “It is indeed true that to become a real, and experienced Organist it is necessary to make a particular study of tablature, and especially the Toccatas, Fugues, Ricercari &c. of Frescobaldi, or of other Excellent Men.” Since Domenico Scarlatti knew Pasquini and was an intimate of Gasparini (he may even have had a hand in the composition of L’armonico pratico), Frescobaldi has justly been claimed as “a true spiritual ancestor of Scarlattti.”
In northern Europe one may distinguish broadly between the influence of Frescobaldi’s printed works as compositional models and the influence of his performing style as transmitted to succeeding generations by his contemporaries and pupils. Where Frescobaldi was adopted as a model, as in the German-speaking countries, we find the greatest number of manuscript copies and attributions. (Indeed, in Germany the copying of Frescobaldi’s printed collections continued into the nineteenth century.) That many of these manuscript works are patently spurious verset-cycles still testifies that in Frescobaldi’s work the Germans valued the strict four-part writing going out of fashion in Italy. The influence of Girolamo’s toccatas, canzonas, and ricercars is apparent in Froberger’s works, and the keyboard production of Johann Kaspar Kerll seems almost a gloss on Frescobaldi’s oeuvre. An oration in 1657 by Johann Heinzelman, rector of the Berlin Gymnasium, on the inauguration of Martin Klingenberg (the teacher of Johann Pepusch), quoted a list of notable Italian composers including Monteverdi, Merula, Pesenti, Tardti, and others concluded with “Celeberrimu[m] illum organorum Præsidem Frescobaldi.” Although representative selections of Frescobaldi’s keyboard works were included in German instructional treatises as early as the 1670s, it was the masterful counterpoint of the Fiori musicali that inspired Johann Joseph Fux in southern Germany and J. S. Bach in the north.
Alexander Silbiger has pointed out one striking quotation of Frescobaldi in a German source. The Passacaglia in Alessandro Poglietti’s “Toccatina sopra la Ribellione di Ungheria” quotes the first five couplets of Frescobaldi’s e minor passacaglia, followed by eight more that are not in the original. The Frescobaldi quotations are improved, showing the dotting of eighth notes and other examples of performance practice. Silbiger suggests that the Passacaglia may be cited with its traditional connotations as a lament, since it occurs between the decapitation and the funeral bells.
The manuscript tradition of Girolamo’s works in France is exiguous, with the striking exception of a “Duresse” copied by Louis Couperin (see Catalogue I.B., London). Froberger’s traditional role in transmitting Frescobaldi’s music to France, where Girolamo was already known by reputation sixteen years before Froberger’s arrival, needs re-consideration. A work like Louis Couperin’s unmeasured prelude related to a Froberger toccata, however, suggests graphically something of the freedom of Frescobaldi’s style of performance (see Chapter 19).
Girolamo’s music was known in England by 1627, when William Heather left to the Music School at Oxford a collection that included works of Frescobaldi. The first book of Toccatas was copied in an English manuscript dated ca. 1650 (Jeanneret 205-11), and the 1645 Canzoni alla francese are found in four manuscript parts in Oxford, Bodleian Library, dated 1677 (see Mead 1982 and Catalogue I.A.9). John Blow quoted two excerpts from a Frescobaldi toccata in his own works and Sir John Hawkins praised Girolamo enthusiastically, but the English so little understood the elements of his musical style that they accepted as genuine Frescobaldi the three routinié keyboard fugues of Gottlieb Muffat that Muzio Clementi published in the second volume of his Practical Harmony (1802), along with five genuine works. One of the spurious pieces still appears in piano anthologies as a truly amazing anticipation of the Bachian keyboard fugue.
The centenaries of Frescobaldi’s birth (1883) and of his first publications (1908) awakened scholarly interest in his career, but of the indispensable prerequisites for an understanding of his life and work a scholarly biography took an additional three quarters of a century (1983), and the critical edition of his collected works is not yet quite complete. More important, Doni—with all his malice—grasped a fundamental truth: Frescobaldi is a composer whose art flows through the fingers; unless he is performed with both historical and musical insight his greatest works remain enigmatic and unconvincing.