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The Passacaglia

Duration:
1 hour
First broadcast:
Sunday 10 April 2011

Lucie Skeaping traces the history and development of the dance-based form, from its origins in Iberian street music to the great organ works by Bach.

The word passacaglia derives from the Spanish 'pasar' and 'calle' - meaning 'to walk' and 'street'. The musical form probably originated as music performed whilst promenading, most likely with a guitar. With the rise in popularity of the 5 string Spanish guitar, the passacaglia quickly crossed Europe and was readily adopted into song, instrumental music and even into the theatre. Repertoire in the programme includes music from an opera by Lully, Monteverdi's lament par excellence "Lamento della Ninfa" and one of Bach's greatest works for organ.

Music Played

11 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Image for Girolamo Montesardo

    Girolamo Montesardo Passacaglia strumming exercise from his guitar manual of 1606

    Performer: Toby Carr (guitar)

    BBC recording

  • Image for Johann Sebastian Bach

    Johann Sebastian Bach Passacaglia in C minor BWV 582 (short extract)

    Performer: Simon Preston (Sauer organ, St. Peter, Waltrop)

    DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON, 469 4202

  • Image for Juan Cabanilles

    Juan Cabanilles Pasacalles del 4to tono

    Performer: Rinaldo Alessandrini (harpsichord)

    NAIVE, Op 30468

  • Image for Girolamo Montesardo

    Girolamo Montesardo Passacaglia strumming exercise from his guitar manual of 1606

    Performer: Toby Carr (guitar)

    BBC recording

  • Image for Claudio Monteverdi

    Claudio Monteverdi 'Ma Che Dico Poppea' from L'Incoronazione di Poppea

    Performers: City of London Baroque Sinfonia, Richard Hickox (conductor)

    VIRGIN VERITAS, VM 5617832

  • Image for Girolamo Frescobaldi

    Girolamo Frescobaldi Partite Centro sopra li Passachagli

    Performer: Alexander Weiman (Vladimir Slajch organ, Budweiss)

    STRADIVARIUS, STR 33491

  • Image for Jean-Baptiste Lully

    Jean-Baptiste Lully Grande Passacaille from Act 5 Scene 1, Armide

    Performer: Les Arts Florissants, William Christie (conductor)

    ERATO, 0927 446552

  • Image for George Frideric Handel

    George Frideric Handel Suite No 7 in G minor (last movement)

    Performer: Sophie Yates (harpsichord)

    CHANDOS, CHAN 0688

  • Image for Claudio Monteverdi

    Claudio Monteverdi Lamento della Ninfa (central section)

    Performers: Tragicomedia, Stephen Stubbs (director)

    TELDEC, 4509 919712

  • Image for Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber von Bibern

    Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber von Bibern Passacaglia from Rosary Sonatas

    Performer: Andrew Manze (violin)

    HARMONIA MUNDI, HMX 290734445

  • Image for Johann Sebastian Bach

    Johann Sebastian Bach Passacaglia in C minor, BWV.582

    Performer: Simon Preston (Sauer organ, St. Peter, Waltrop)

    DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON, 469 4202

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