Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger was born in Italy around 1580, possibly in the beautiful city of Venice, though we don’t know for sure exactly when or where. As a composer, his fast changes in mood and key won the praise and admiration of some critics who thought he was a genius–and the dislike of others, who considered him, as bad a composer as he was fine an instrumentalist.
It’s true that he was a noted lute virtuoso, and so naturally, he wrote music for lute and theorbo. He was an outlaw of his times because he didn’t follow the rules of counterpoint like the other guys.
Here’s a sample of his music so you can decide for yourself. This selection isn’t performed by Kapsberger himself, but instead by the Pittsburgh-based ensemble Chatham Baroque. “Gagliarda prima” is from their 2011 recording Alla Luce.
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