Castello / Picchi

The Floating City
Sonatas, canzonas and dances by Dario Castello and Giovanni Picchi
His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts
Hyperion 67013


  1. Giovanni Picchi: Canzon No 19 (3 cornetts, 5 trombones, organ)
  2. Dario Castello: Sonata No 14 (2 cornetts, 2 trombones, harp, harpsichord, organ)
  3. Picchi: Canzon No 15 (2 violins, 4 trombones, harpsichord, organ)
  4. Picchi: Canzon No 17 (2 cornetts, 6 trombones, organ)
  5. Picchi: Toccata (harpsichord)
  6. Castello: Sonata No 10 (2 cornetts, dulcian, chitarrone, harp, harpsichord, organ)
  7. Castello: Sonata No 11 (2 violins, trombone, harpsichord, organ)
  8. Castello: Sonata No 5 (cornett, trombone, harpsichord, organ)
  9. Picchi: Ballo Ungaro (harp)
  10. Picchi: Padouana ditta la Ongara (harpsichord
  11. Castello: Sonata No 8 (cornett, dulcian, organ)
  12. Castello: Sonata No 17 in ecco (2 cornetts, 2 violins, organ)
  13. Picchi: Canzon No 18 (2 organs)
  14. Picchi: Canzon No 14 (2 cornetts, 4 trombones, 2 organs)
  15. Castello: Sonata No 13 (2 cornetts, 2 trombones, chitarrone, harp, organ)

Performers: David Staff, Jeremy West, Adrian Woodward (cornetts), Susan Addison, Patrick Jackman, Tom Lees, Abigail Newman, Stephen Saunders, Adam Woolf (trombones), Pavlo Besnosiak, Julia Bishop (violins), William Lyons (dulcian), Paula Chateauneuf (chitarrone), Frances Kelly (harp), Timothy Roberts, Richard Egarr (harpsichord / organ)

Playing time: 75'

Recording date: September 1997

Giovanni Picchi was an organist and composer active in Venice in the early seventeenth century. Biographical details of his life are sketchy, but the surviving evidence indicates a fairly active musical career, centered principally around two institutions, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari and the Scuola di San Rocco.

Picchi appears to have been born around 1572. He may have been appointed organist at the Frari as early as 1593, but the earliest specific mention of Picchi dates from the year 1600, when he appears to have been portrayed on the title page of Fabritio Caroso´s Nobiltà di Dame. In this dance tutor, Picchi appears holding a lute, with the name "Picchi" below the portrait.

In February of 1607, Picchi unsuccessfully applied for the position of organist at the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista.

In 1612, Picchi was investigated by the Provveditori sopra monasteri on charges that he had been teaching organ, voice, violin, and viol at the convent of Spirito Santo without a license. In April of the same year, he auditioned for the position of organist at San Rocco, losing to Giovanni Grillo.

In March of 1623, after the death of Grillo, Picchi finally won the post of organist at San Rocco, for which he had unsuccessfully applied in 1612.

In 1624, Picchi unsuccessfully applied for the position of second organist at San Marco.

Picchi continued to work as organist at San Rocco and the Frari until late in his life. In 1641, he began sending a substitute to San Rocco, probably due to illness, and he died at the age of seventy-one years on 19 May 1643.

Picchi's extant works can be divided into three categories: keyboard works, instrumental canzonas, and a single vocal composition.

A recording featuring Picchi's music for keyboard:

Giovanni Picchi e la Scuola Veneziana
Fabio Bonizzoni
Glossa 921502

And another recording which includes Picchi's ensemble works:

Monteverdi: Selva Morale e Spirituale
La Capella Ducale / Musica Fiata Köln - Roland Wilson
Sony Vivarte 53363

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Nathan Wilkes