Lascivious Sounds and other amorous things, released at the 2003 Utrecht Early Music Festival, is Ensemble Braccio's debut recording.

The title comes from a Venetian document from 1550 that criticizes a violin ensemble for playing music that was too sensual.

This collection of dances and arrangements of songs for 4-part violin band from 16th and 17th century century Italy and France is indeed sensual... and dramatic and humorous and exciting.

Here's what one reviewer says:

"This is a recording I have liked from the first time I listened through. The ensemble playing is transparent, and the immediate impression is that the ensemble is musically and technically very together. You will find the sound to be unusual: the instruments and bows used here are made to 16th century models. The result is a sound which is different also when compared to later, baroque instruments. The differentiation of the articulation leaves a strong impression -- it is rarely heard as clearly as here.

....the really interesting thing is how the ensemble makes their own diminutions in the other pieces.

I warmly recommend this recording, not the least for people who have a close relation with "classical" string quartets and other chamber music for strings. Here they will find a new look at the multifacetedness of the genre!"

from a review in Kammertoner

Lascivious Sounds and other amorous things


1.  Spagnoletta

arr. Hettore della Marra (before 1629)

2.  Pavanne des Dieux & Galliard

arr. Claude Gervaise (1550)

3.  Anchor che col partire

Cipriano de Rore, arr. G. Bassano (1591)

4.  Galaria d’amor

arr. Gasparo Zannetti (1645)

5.  Angelus ad pastores

Rore, arr. G. B. Bovicelli (1594)

6.  Gagliarda Prima

Anonymous (Naples, before 1629)

7.  Gagliarda Principe di Venosa

Don Carlo Gesualdo (ca. 1600)

8.  Pavana & Gagliarda Traditora

Anonymous 16th Century

9. Aria del Gran Ducha

after Emilio dei Cavalieri, arr. Zannetti (1645)

10. Ballet

arr. Michael Praetorius (1612)

11. Ballet du Roi

Praetorius (1612)

12. La Bourée

Praetorius (1612)

13. Canzon 2a a 4

Salamone Rossi (1608)

14. Suono del ballo di Cigni

Giacomo Spiardo (1620)

15. Io canterei d’amor

Rore, arr. Bassano (1591)

16. Pavanne Belle qui tiens ma vie

Thoinot Arbeau, arr. Ensemble Braccio (2003)

17. Allemandes

Anonymous, from Philidor ms. (1580’s)

18. O magnum mysterium / Ave Maria

Adrian Willaert (1539)

19. Courante Wustrow

Praetorius (1612)

20. Saltarello Cor mio caro

Zannetti (1645)

21. Bransles Simples

arr. Etienne du Tertre, Gervaise (1550’s)

22. Bransles Gays

arr. Jean d’Estrées, Gervaise (1550’s)

23. Bransles de Champagne

arr. Gervaise (1550’s)

24. Bransle de Poictou

arr. Gervaise (1550’s)

From the liner notes:

Lascivious Sounds and other amorous things

On April 14, 1550, the violin ensemble employed by the religious confraternity of San Rocco in Venice was criticized for "playing many songs and other sounds ... much more lascivious than devotional." If they continued to play such "songs and other amorous things," they would be dismissed. We have no idea if they complied. Over the years it has become more and more evident to us that early violinists lived on the edge between polite and impolite society. With the above citation we have confirmation. When we wanted to make a recording that reflected what violinists in the 16th century were playing, we knew that we had to fill it with the most lascivious, amorous, and devotional music we could find.

First, the arrangements of vocal music. "Anchor che col partire" and "Io canterei d'amor", are both songs about rising passions. "Angelus ad pastores" (an arrangement of "Anchor") has been endowed with some of the most exciting ornamentation from the 16th century. On the devotional side, the motet by Willaert, "O magnum mysterium", could not be more intimately passionate.

When we selected the purely instrumental music, we decided to look for pieces that had associations with love and lascivious behavior. Sometimes the connection is in the title, like the Gallaria d'amor or the saltarello Cor mio caro. Sometimes the pieces are connected in some way to an amorous event; the Aria del gran ducha originally came from a wedding, and the pavanne Belle qui tiens ma vie, has a very sensual text. Other pieces have a seductive character, such as the Gagliarda Principe di Venosa, the Ballets, and the Allemandes.

All of this music is reflective of the 16th century violin band repertory and gives us an idea of what upset the governors of San Rocco in Venice.

A Note on the Ornamentation

Early violinists used a significant amount of improvisation and ornamentation. Some of the musical decoration performed on this recording is written out ornamentation from the late renaissance, as in the Courante Wustrow and the Bassano and Bovicelli arrangements of Cipriano da Rore's madrigals. The ornament in the other dance music (the branles, the pavannes, and the galliards) is improvisational invention borrowed from the ornamentation treatises of Bassano, Rognoni, dalla Casa and others. In Belle qui tiens ma vie this sort of improvisation takes center stage in an impromptu dialogue.


Lascivious Sounds costs €12,-- or $??.--, depending on your location, plus shipping and handling.

Using the links below, you may purchase via PayPal using any major credit card.

Your card will be charged by ABACUS CONCERTS, Ensemble Braccio's management company.


rest of world