Giuseppe Colombi – Toccatas, Tromba, Sarabanda …

Posted on November 28th, 2017 by


Giuseppe Colombi(1635 — 27 September 1694) – Toccatas, Tromba, Sarabanda …
Giuseppe Colombi – Sarabanda (Scordatura GDGB)
Peter Sheppard Skaerved – Violin (Maggini) Workshop recording 14 1 18

Just to start getting you interested in Giuseppe Colombi, the star of the next ‘Preludes & Vollenteries’ , here’s my working copy of the MS of his ‘Ciacona a solo’, with a little Poussin counterpoint.

Over recent months, my fascination with Giuseppe Colombi has grown, as I have studied his extraordinary works for violin alone. Colombi was a colleague of Giovanni Battist Vitali in the ducal Capella in Modena. It seems likely to me that Vitali’s ‘Diverse partite’ were either written for Colombi, or document the two musicians shared work. Vitali was a a violone player, not a violinist,  at least two of the movements in their cycles, ‘passamezzi’ and ‘Barabani’  are fundamentally the same work.

Stabilizing the bridge for Colombi’s more dramatic scordature can demand some rethinking, such as reversion the anchor postiions of the top two strings, which seems to work. 14 1 18

One of the real challenges of Colombi’s writing is his love of two fairly extreme re-tunings. GCEG, and GDGB. These both require some bridge shifting in order to work on a violin, and result in some lovely colours. i hear an echo of the sounds of the early 16th Century, ir earlier, as if the violin has been forced back to the world of the lira da braccia and and the citole.

Bridge placements. There’s always lots of talk about apparently strange placings in early paintings. Well, to get some of the more extreme scordatura to work, such as Columbi’s GCEG (in one octave), and GDGB (tenth), this is what works best