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The Stylus Fantasticus

Lucie Skeaping explores the 'stylus fantasticus' genre of baroque music which flourished at Kromeriz Castle during the 17th century. Including music by Biber and Schmelzer.

Lucie Skeaping presents a focus on the "stylus fantasticus" genre of programmatic music which flourished in Bohemia during the 17th Century. It was the style favoured by the Bishop of Olomouc-Kromeriz, in what's now the Czech Republic. An enormously sociable fellow - and also a Prince - he spent his summers entertaining friends and relations in the fabulous Kromeriz Castle where he laid on for them lavish feasts, plays, ballets and concerts.
The root of the music was the ground-breaking toccatas by the Venetian organist & composer Claudio Merulo, and through him, other keyboard composers such as Girolamo Frescobaldi and Johann Jakob Froberger who took the style further. The stylus fantasticus or "fantasy style" developed under the Prince Bishop's patronage and was perfect for the light-hearted summer entertainments at the Kromeriz Castle parties. The most famous practitioner of the "stylus fantsaticus" was Heinrich Biber, whose colourful "Battalia" invokes a military encampment by means of trumpet and drum motifs - full of imagination and wit. We hear eight drunken musketeers singing their native songs, officers engaging in elegant fencing, horses and cavalry, a battle complete with trumpet flourishes and shots, and finally the lament of the wounded musketeers.

58 minutes

Music Played

  • Johann Heinrich Schmelzer

    Sonata "Cucu"

    Performers: Romanesca

    • HARMONIA MUNDI HMU 907143.
  • Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber

    Sonata "Die Pauern Kirchfarth genandt"

    Performers: New London Consort, Philip Pickett (director)

    • DECCA 458 081-2.
  • Claudio Merulo

    Toccata primo del 5 tono

    Performer: Frederic Muñoz (organ)

    • NAXOS 8.553334.
  • Girolamo Frescobaldi

    Capriccio sopra il cucho

    Performer: John Butt (organ)

    • HARMONIA MUNDI HMU 907178.
  • Johann Jakob Froberger

    Lamento sopra la dolorosa perdita della real Maestà di Ferdinando IV, re dé Romani (Suite

    Performer: Christophe Rousset (harpsichord)

    • AMBROISIE AM 148.
  • Johann Heinrich Schmelzer

    Die Fechtschule

    Performers: Armonico Tributo Austria, Lorenz Duftschmid (director)

    • ARCANA A33.
  • Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber


    Performers: Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (conductor)

    • TELDEC 4509 97914-2.