Photo credit: Patric Leo
“Concerto Palatino delivers delicious sonic bliss where the flamboyant art of improvisation triumphs: lucky Venetians who were surrounded every day with the beauty of a music so learned and so brilliant.”
“Veritable fireworks of musicality...coupled with shimmering virtuosity in all the instruments and a lively spirit of interpretation. The musicians played with effortless technical mastery. Every phrase, bursting with intensity, made one wish for more.”
For over two decades, Concerto Palatino, under the direction of Bruce Dickey and Charles Toet, has been leading the way in the revival of the cornetto and baroque trombone. Their highly acclaimed concerts and recordings have brought an appreciation of their important but little known music to modern audiences, and stimulated many young players to take up these instruments, practically unknown a generation ago.
The cornetto is a wind instrument made of wood, covered with leather, and played with a small cup-shaped mouthpiece. Once considered "the most perfect of all musical instruments", it endured nearly a century and a half of complete neglect until it began to be revived in the 1950’s. With its warm, vocal character and extreme agility, the cornetto was a natural match for the trombone. For over two hundred years, from the beginning of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th, these instruments combined in towns, courts and churches to form a consort of rare and resonant beauty. (For more on the decline of the cornetto, click here.)
The group takes its name from a historical ensemble of cornettists and trombonists which existed in the city of Bologna for over 200 years under the name, Il concerto palatino della Signoria di Bologna. Following in the footsteps of these former virtuosi, their aim is to restore these instruments to an active and respected place in concert life, and to cultivate a love of their music among audiences and players alike.
Inevitably, much of their repertoire is sacred, as these instruments were a fixture of musical chapels in both the Catholic south and the Protestant north, from the time of the first flowering of Flemish polyphony in the early 16th century through their twilight years at the time of J.S. Bach, one of the last composers to employ them in a serious way.