Giovan Battista Ferrini (1601-1674)
Our knowledge of seventeenth-century Italian keyboard music is based for the most part on the works of those few composers who were able at the time to have their compositions printed. But many other composers are mentioned in various other contemporary sources (literary, theoretical or musical) about whom the official history of keyboard music knows little or nothing. These musicians left nothing printed, and often we know of them only from brief and scarce examples of their art in the manuscripts of the so-called “tablatures” for harpsichord and organ. Just such a figure is the Roman musician Giovan Battista Ferrini (about 1601-1674). Better known to his contemporaries as “Giovan Battista della spinetta”, Ferrini may be considered as one of the most interesting Italian keyboard composers of the generation at work between Frescobaldi and Bernardo Pasquini. Testifying to this are the numerous laudatory references made to him by important musical theorists such as the composer Romano Micheli, the famous Jesuit Athanasius Kircher in his Musurgia universalis and Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni in his Guida armonica.