Italian Pastorals of 15th and 16th Century
ITALIAN PASTORALES FOR ORGAN vol. 1st: 17th and 18th CENTURYThe organ "pastorale", a characteristic presence at Christmastime, developed as a genre intended to evoke and imitate the repertoire of the zampogne or Italian bagpipes. This intentional imitation, evident in the ostinato repetition of short melodic formulas and in the rocking rhythms of a lullaby, is highlighted in the masterful "Capriccio fatto sopra la Pastorale" (from the Toccate d’intavolatura di cimbalo et organo, libro I, Rome 1637) by Girolamo Frescobaldi, the oldest known composition for organ explicitly denoted as a "Pastorale". In performing on the organ a repertoire derived from that of shepherds, certain reed registers were created which went by such names as "zampogna” or "cornamusa"; G.B. Doni documents their use in his Compendio del Trattato de’ Generi e de’ Modi della Musica, published in Rome in 1635. Though the "pastorale" genre underwent modifications throughout the centuries reflecting changes in musical styles and tastes, it nonetheless remained faithful to the unique characteristics of the original model it set out to imitate: the repertoire of the zampognari.