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The Role of the Continuo

1 hour
First broadcast:
Sunday 18 April 2010

Catherine Bott talks to harpsichordist Gary Cooper about the role of the continuo, from its early beginnings around the turn of the 17th century, up to vocal and instrumental music by JS Bach. They discuss the use of different instruments as part of the continuo ensemble, including a simple organ in very early examples, and the use of chitarrone in Monteverdi, and viola da gamba in Rameau. Catherine and Gary also talk about the impact the continuo makes to a musical performance. Repertoire in the programme includes works by Viadana, Monteverdi, Frescobaldi and JS Bach.

Music Played

8 items
  • Image for Thomas Tallis

    Thomas Tallis Spem in Alium

    Performers: Choir of New College, Oxford, La Maitrise Nationale de Versailles, Edward Higginbottom, Gary Cooper, organ

    K617, K617010

  • Image for Lodovico Grossi da Viadana

    Lodovico Grossi da Viadana Exaudi me Domine from Cento Concerti Ecclesiastici, Venice, 1602

    Performers: Alfred Deller, counter-tenor, Gustav Leonhardt, organ

    VANGUARD CLASSICS, 08 5059 71

  • Image for Claudio Monteverdi

    Claudio Monteverdi Mira deh Orfeo….Ahi caso acerbo….in un fiorito prato (from 'Orfeo')

    Performers: Pastori: Mario Bolognesi, Rogers Covey-Crump, John Potter, Stephen Varcoe, Messaggiera: Guillemette Laurens, Orfeo: Nigel Rogers, London Baroque, Charles Medlam, director, The London Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, Theresa Caudle, director

    VIRGIN VERITAS, 482 0702

  • Image for Francesco Cavalli

    Francesco Cavalli 'Ascender qui ved'io'…'Al fin la tanto rigida quella' (from La Calisto, Act 2)

    Performers: Diana: Janet Baker, Endimione: James Bowman, Satirino: Janet Hughes, Glyndebourne Festival Opera Chorus, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Raymond Leppard, conductor

    DECCA, 436 216-2

  • Image for Girolamo Frescobaldi

    Girolamo Frescobaldi Sonnetto spirituale: Maddalena alla Croce

    Performers: Catherine Bott, soprano, David Roblou, harpsichord

    L’OISEAU-LYRE, 417 260-2

  • Image for Jean-Philippe Rameau

    Jean-Philippe Rameau L'Impatience: Recit – Air leger

    Performers: James Gilchrist, tenor, Mark Levy, viola da gamba, Gary Cooper, harpsichord

    ASV, CD GAX 234

  • Image for Johann Sebastian Bach

    Johann Sebastian Bach 'Betrachte, mein Seel' (from St John Passion)

    Performers: Klaus Mertens, bass, Hopkinson Smith, lute, The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Ton Koopman, conductor

    ERATO, 4509-94675-2

  • Image for Johann Sebastian Bach

    Johann Sebastian Bach 1st mvt (Largo) from Sonata sopr'il Soggetto Reale from The Musical Offering

    Performers: Ensemble Sonnerie: Monica Huggett, violin, Sara Cunningham, viola da gamba, Gary Cooper, harpsichord, Wilbert Hazelzet, flute

    VIRGIN VERITAS, VC 5 45139-2

  • Gary Cooper

    Gary Cooper

    photo credit Chris Stock Photography


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