9th Biennial Conference on Baroque Music


Basso Continuo Instrumentation at the Court of Olomouc-Kromeriz in the Seventeenth Century

Robert Rawson

The basso continuo in central Europe was realised by a flexible ensemble which could accommodate anything from solo singers or instrumentalists to massive forces often required for motets and masses. There has been a recent tendency among some scholars to limit the size and instrumentation of basso continuo groups in seventeenth-century central Europe. Several recent articles have put foreword the argument that basso continuo parts at the court of Olomouc-Kromeriz were realised by nothing other than a single organ. This study reveals that the basso continuo in seventeenth-century Moravia was realised by a wide variety of instruments, and that the orchestration of the continuo part, contrary to some recent assertions, could change throughout a piece to accommodate the affekt of the music. This argument is supported with primary source material from central European archives, including music by Biber, Vejvanovsky, Finger and Carissimi.
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Last updated on 3 April 2000 by Yo Tomita