• IBS CLASSICAL IBS122017 | DL GR 1159-2017

Iberian Harpsichord Concertos pays tribute to the eighteenth-century phenomenon that the concert for the key was and that had Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Manuel Narro and José Palomino to three portentous representatives of this musical event in Southern Europe. «From the brightness of the early Italian virtuosity, which so many ties crossed with Spain and Portugal, to the eighteenth-century folk dance, the color of the south, the echoes of the strummed guitar or the influence of the Scarlattian writing take us to some cool, carefree concerts, crispy. »

This record constitutes the first world recording on CD of the Narro concerts ( first Spanish concert for key and orchestra ) and Pergolesi, as well as the first to the key of the Concerto of Palomino.


José Palomino (1755-1810), Concerto o sia Quintetto per Cembalo o Piano Forte Con due Violini, Violetta e Basso de Giuseppe Palomino, anno 1785

1. Allegro

2. Andante

3. Rondó. Allº. poco

Silvia Márquez Chulilla, harpsichord


Manuel Narro (1729-1776), Concierto De Clave Con Violines, Viola y Violón Obligados, De Don Manuel Narro. Año 1767

4. Allegro presto

5. Andante giusto

6. [Allegro]

Silvia Márquez Chulilla, harpsichord


Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736), Concerto à Cembalo Concertato 1mo., Cembalo Concertato 2o., 2 Violini, Viola e Basso, Del Sigr. Pergolesi

7. Allegro non assai

8. Adagio Tardissimo

9. Allegro

Silvia Márquez Chulilla & Alfonso Sebastián, harpsichords


CD World Premiere Recording





He was once at home, on the slope of August, a little father of these crowded ones, with a little copon on the frontispicium, cuellierguido, barbirrubio, clean and folded, chusco shoe, suede underpants, and great canteen of jácaras to the guitarrilla, from which did not depart a point our Gerundico, because it gave him confections. He had a good father, half in half, both smug and evasive,

History of the famous preacher fray Gery de Campazas, alias Zotes, 1758)



The cathedral archives, powerful guardians of the musical art of each era, have allowed us to know a huge amount of religious music from 18th-century Spain and also treasure the instrumental music of the most famous European composers of the day. But the painting is incomplete and faded if we cannot imagine the role of music in everyday life, the relationship of the clergy with the earthly world, its coexistence with folk dances and customs. Literature is, very often, the path that takes us to those environments. And the “father” of jácaras presented to us by José Francisco de Isla is but a blaming critique of the clergy based on satire and irony, but that clings to the modern novel and its commitment to reality; so much, that the Inquisition censors the book twenty days after its appearance and in 1762 a decree prohibits The Island from publishing any new works.


Censorship so fast and sharp, that as an isolated fact could be understandable in the case of a direct attack, it is surprising when we take into account the sociocultural context and the tremendous changes that were taking place: in front of the traditionalists, the enlightened thought and reason had a great defender in the figure of Charles III; education and knowledge were claimed as tools for achieving progress and happiness; in 1759 the Encyclopedie began to be edited; numerous academies are created and a curious cultural phenomenon occurs: as opposed to the group of the enlightened – men cultivated and related to French tastes – the “majism” appears, represented by most of the town and clinging to the castilian; they called petimetre and currutaco to all things foreign and accompanied their dances – fandangos, boleros and follow-alone – with guitars, lutes and castanets. The boundaries between the two groups began to blur when the aristocracy itself began to adopt commoner customs or to show visitors the grace of folk dances. Under the reign of Charles III, Francisco de Goya worked for the Royal Tapestry Factory: the enlightened spirit fostered the quality industry, but the theme represented painters, dances and popular amusements. In the aftermath of the century, the writer and enlightened politician Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos portrays in his Daily the coexistence of all these elements in a daily day:


The Sunday, 23 [July] (1797). Stand at five. Light sun. Mass, and horseback riding at half:30. Clouds. Caldones, invited by the Indian Don Alonso Acebal, to his feast of Carmen; there, a reader of theology from Salamanca, Cistercian, and the family of Fano, Quintana; several cures of the round, and the kinship of the house; of Gijón, Don Eduardo and the scribe Misericordia. To the Church; the pilgrimage, in a beautiful carbayeda beside her, without field; taken away the earth by Rato for an inheritance, that the trees resent well, which are beautiful, but are sad and poorly fed; few people; food, in a meadow; Eighty people; usual, without excess quantity or mode. Late, to church; bad way, and much; the sun bothers us; two pipers, one Gijón drum, four shooters; more pilgrimage; some dances. I saw Marica Ramirez morning and later. What!!

Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos (Diary, 1790-1801)



It is this rich mosaic of the last third century that describes isla and Jovellanos that frames the composition of the concerts of Manuel Narro and José Palomino, a genre that despite its important development in Europe barely had representation here, to the beat of so much religious music, jácara and bolero.




The concert for key is a fortunate eighteenth event, a century in which composers gradually discover the astonishing harmonic and polyphonic potential of these instruments beyond their support function from continuous bass. The fifth Brandenburg Concerto by J. S. Bach (20th century 18th century), the subsequent BWV 1052-1065, Georg Friedrich Haendel’s Organ Concertos (1738) and Thomas Arne’s for key, organ or forte and piano (1751) are representative examples of a genre that reached its peak in the second half of the century. For Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach the key concerto was a constant throughout his life, from the beginning of writing the first in 1733 until the Concerto at Mib Wq. 47 for key and fortepiano of 1788. In the Iberian field, the Concerto in La major of the Portuguese Carlos Seixas (1704-1742) and another in G minor attributed to the same author are cases early and isolated. Later stand out the Quintetti Op. 56 and 57 by Luigi Boccherini – who arrived in Spain in 1768 – and the Six quintets for arc and organ instruments or key obligated by Antonio Soler, dated 1776.


Attributed to Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) and preserved in a manuscript of the University of Michigan, the Concerto’ Cembalo Concertato 1mo., Cembalo Concertato 2o., 2 Violini, Viola e Basso P 240 III is the first known example of this type – concert for two keys with orchestra – in southern Europe. Naples, a territory under Spanish rule from 1504 to 1707, was in the 18th century the most populous city in Italy. The production of opera in the hands of composers such as Alessandro Scarlatti made it a cosmopolitan center, and would be the birthplace of many of the musicians who later worked in the courts of Madrid and Lisbon (without going any further, Domenico Scarlatti).


In this populous Naples attended by merchants, bartenders, aristocrats, beggars, spinners… – characters so well represented in the famous Neapolitan bean ibelens – Giovanni Battista Pergolesi has been working since 1725, in the surroundings of the Court, in the service of various aristocrats. With an important operatic production – it could not be otherwise – he soon became famous as a representative of the opera buffa (La Serva Padrona), although he also wrote sacred works (Stabat Mater) and instrumental works (including a concert of violin). The Concerto for two keys, fully baroque and clearly built on a continuous bass line, certainly conveys in its three movements the image of a rich, cheerful, bustling and avid leisure environment. If we give for certain his authorship and considering that Pergolesi died very young in 1736, the concert would be strictly contemporary of the Concerts for two keys of J. S. Bach –BWV 1060 and 1061 –, if not earlier.


But who were these concerts aimed at, where were they performed? From the Central European environment we get a lot of data: Bach, director of the Collegium Musicum leipzig between 1729 and 1741, wrote many of his concerts for the sessions of Café Zimmermann, where they were premiered by his sons (C. P. E. Bach or W. Friedemann) or W. Friedemann) or W. Friedemann) or W. Friedemann) or W. Friedemann) or W. Friedemann) or W. Friedemann) or W. Friedemann) or W. Friedemann) or W. Friedemann) or W. Friedemann) or W. Friedemann) or W. Friedemann) students. In London, a new concert written and performed in between by Haendel or Arne served as a claim to various oratorios. The last compositions of the genre of C. P. E. Bach nurtured the concert series he directed in Hamburg. Little is yet known about these paid concerts in Spain, and the repertoires that enlivened the musical evenings of the Casa de Benavente or Osuna seemed to lean towards opera and string music. Soler – a disciple in Madrid of Domenico Scarlatti and José de Nebra – wrote the Quintets for his pupil Infante D. Gabriel, son of Charles III.


In that enlightened Spain of Charles III, the same one that in 1760 forbade the publication of Fray Gerundio…, a Valencian priest who dedicates his daily work to liturgical service writes in 1767 what is perhaps his most chastity, daring, entertaining work, costumbrista; an instrumental work for which no recipient is known or an occasion for release: the “Concert de Clave Con Violines, Viola and Violón Obliged”. It is, if we review the background shown above, the first Spanish concert for known key to date.


Born in Valencia in 1729, Manuel Narro was ordained a priest in the Collegiate Church of Játiva and there he was organist between 1752 and 1771, with a brief period in the middle during which he held the same position in the Cathedral of Valencia. In 1768, after the death of José de Nebra, he opposed the fourth place of organist of the Royal Chapel of Madrid. Although the court rated him the best, the vacancy was awarded to the young José Lidón. However, in 1771 Narro resigned from his post in Játiva and appeared as organist of the Royal Descalzas of Madrid. There he remained until 1775, when he returned to Valencia, where he died in 1776. The dissemination that reached his music (with copies in places as diverse as Cuenca, Madrid, Salamanca, Valencia, Mexico…) shows the recognition that he enjoyed as a composer. In front of his more than 60 religious vocal works (masses, motets, carols, hymns, etc.), the well-known instrumental production is very scant: three works for key and the Key Concerto, from which a copy is preserved in the Collegiate Church of Roncesvalles. Apparently, after completing the opposition to the Cathedral of Valencia, the examiners considered that Narro was “more owned and more content for the Church” than the other winner, Rafael Anglés, more “modern”. Despite the limited biographical data, it is not difficult for us to imagine that Narro could know the work for key of Domenico Scarlatti, either in his Madrid environment, or by the hand of one of his Valencian friends in the Court. What is clear, however, is the influence of the one in the Concerto, with a gallant aesthetic, away from the ecclesiastical style and brimming with its rhythmic chords, acciacaturas, melodic dissonances, ornamental twists and hand crosses.


Just a few months before Narro moved to Madrid, the young José Palomino – the son of Francisco Mariano, a violinist from Madrid who worked in Madrid’s theatres – earned a place as a violinist in the Royal Chapel. Both must have lived very close and known the same musical environment for a few years, until in 1773 Palomino left for Lisbon. The Portuguese capital represented a very important cultural center, with a world famous musical library from the middle of the seventeenth century and a great development of key music, under Italian influence, throughout the eighteenth century. “Apple-converted-space”Together with the real-cut music, chamber and lounge music abounded, and European news, especially Haydn’s music, kept coming.


José Palomino enjoyed a well-to-do position as a musician of the Royal Portuguese Chapel, in an atmosphere of modernity and elegance, and frequented the particular academies of the city. In 1785 Count Fernán Núñez, ambassador of Spain to Portugal, commissioned him La retorno di Astrea in terra to celebrate the double marriage liaison of the infants of Portugal and Spain. That same year he wrote the “Concerto o sia Quintetto per Cembalo or Piano Forte with due Violini, Violetta e Basso”, preserved in the National Library of Portugal. Almost two decades after the Concert of Narro, and while in that one the interaction between key and strings was limited to dialogue in alternation, the Concerto of Palomino is based on a cameristic concept in which the string, in which each line acquires a role Independent, it is more integrated with the key and plays with an intertwined mothacivic construction. With a purely classic cut by structure (allegro-andante-rondó) and language (under Alberti, simple phrases, abundance of supports and scales, surprise element), the concert exudes an elegance, grace and unangry that reminds us of the first Viennese concerts by W. A. Mozart, without greater pretense, perhaps, than to entertain.


The events of the late eighteenth century put this cultural and musical bubble upside down. The death of Charles III in 1788 that preceded the French Revolution marked the end of illustrated reforism, and the departure of the Portuguese Royal House after the Napoleonic invasion, the end of absolutism. In 1808, when Joao VI and the court flee to Brazil, José Palomino accepts the position of Master of Chapel in Las Palmas, where he devoted himself to reorganizing the small orchestra of the lobby and to compose religious music until his death in 1810. “Apple-converted-space” “”




In February 2015 La Tempestad presented in the “Baroque Universe” Cycle of the National Auditorium of Madrid the revival in modern times and with historicalcriteria criteria of the Concert for key of M. Narro and the Concert for two keys of G. B. Pergolesi. They were accompanied in the program by some of the Sonatas de Opositions to the Royal Chapel of Madrid edited by Judith Ortega, who at the time reminded us of the existence of another concert for the Hispanic key: that of José Palomino. If Narro’s concert received warm praise, Pergolesi’s proved to be the real surprise of the night and was conveyed by audiences and critics.


Aware of the quality of the music, we also saw the need to show and value a language very different from that which until that time represented the concertos for key of Bach, Haendel or contemporaries. From the brilliance of early Italian virtuosity – which so many ties crossed with Spain and Portugal – to the nineteenth-ciochesco folk dance, the color of the south, the echoes of the strumming guitar or the influence of Scarlattian writing lead us to fresh concerts, carefree, crispy. We therefore decided to record them. As far as we know, this record is the first worldwide CD recording of the concerts of Narro and Pergolesi, as well as the first to the key to the Palomino concert.


Because it is at this point that it was time to consider the first interpretative decisions: for what key instrument was Palomino’s concerto written? Pergolesi leaves no choice with the term “cembalo concertato”; nor Narro in his “Clave Concerto”, beyond the characteristic keywriting and the absence of nuances on the key part, and although he probably had the opportunity to know the new instruments – perhaps, yes, after the composition of his work. Although the publication in 1578 of Antonio de Cabezón’s “Music Works for Key, Harp or Vihuela” illustrated a long common practice and music less tied to the instrument itself, the Palomino Concerto (we reversed the order of the figures and jumped to 1785) is set in a the moment of evolution of key instruments for the sake of greater expressiveness. The truth is that the entry of the fortepiano was not sudden – among other reasons because of its high cost – so the key was often still the available instrument. In the environment of the children and students of J. S. Bach, for example, the indication “f.r das Clavier” left the door open to the various key instruments that coexisted; C. P. E. Bach composed his concerto at Mib Wq. 47 (1788) for key and fortepiano; and in these last decades of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century the publishers, aware of the danger, publish numerous key works by Boccherini, Haydn or Beethoven indicating “for key or fortepiano”. Those same words appear in Palomino’s manuscript – so in this case it is not editorial tactics. Certainly his writing fits perfectly with the sonority of the fortepiano; the Portuguese court was one of the first places where the new instrument began to be heard; and King Joao V financed its construction while sending Portuguese apprentices abroad. In short, the practicality – it is more difficult to find fortepianos today than probably in the environment of Palomino – and the fact that there was already a recording to the fortepiano made us lean towards the version to the key.


It is surprising at first glance that Narro dispenses with the key part in his second movement. There are also no traces of encryption, and it does not seem likely that the author left the performer the freedom to improvise on the movement according to the Baroque habit: in the face of the harmonic construction that we can find in the slow movements of an organ concerto of Haendel, for example, Narro looks forward in this Andante of classic cut: the thematic material perfectly drawn in the lines of the violins finds answers elegantly spun on the basses. The gallant language thus shows a fragile and beautiful balance of the rubbed rope that cracked quickly at the entrance of a plectrum. Not so in Pergolesi, where lyrism and cantabile of the two keys take on a melown point for the first third of the century (and which in our opinion feeds the doubt of authorship).


Other aspects to be decided included the use of a second key instrument on the paper of the continuous bass and the realization – or not – of cadences. We chose to add the continuous bass to the concert of Narro to create a background with the accompaniment of key integrated in the orchestra, in front of the solo key; and we thought that in Palomino, further away from the Baroque sonority, it was preferable to sacrifice the accompaniment to offer a more cameristic and crystalline color. The practice of improvising cadences – as musicologist Maria Gembero points out – was not a universal issue: in the face of Germanic custom (C. P. E. Bach left a large number of them written), cadenzas were almost always missing in the Parisian concerts of the Germanic Classicism and is a practice still undocumented in the Iberian Peninsula: Narro does not indicate where they should be made and the calderones in Palomino (in addition to being too many) do not correspond to the usual harmonic places for a cadence, but rather hinted at a brief pause before resuming the round.


Finally, the edition of the score of the Narro Concert owed by María Gembero includes an interesting and complete study and was essential for the previous work. However, we thought it appropriate to perform a practical edition of score and parts of both Narro’s work and the Palomino concert. This is what we did from the manuscript provided by the Royal Collegiate Church of Roncesvalles – in the first case – and the autograph manuscript preserved in the National Library of Lisbon , in the case of Palomino.


Point and end. We are sure that these first Iberian concerts fulfilled their function of amusing a probably small audience, perhaps while the hooves of the horses were sounding on the slabs of the yard and with the echo of the castanets in the background. Returning to the starting point, and making his own the words of Theisland, let us now judge the public, “very powery sir:”


“Let’s get rid of it: only you have this great power, because only you in this particular (I speak of shingles below) can do everything you want. Want the public no one jokes against a play; no one will spark. May the public that all celebrate it internally and externally; everyone will celebrate. Want the public reprinted a thousand times; thousand times it will be reprinted. And this power is not limited to these or those domains; spread out where the long areas of the world extend. Everywhere there are men there are public, because the public are all men,

Silvia Márquez Chulilla


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