Saturday, 4 January 2014


“If I could I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results.” - Emily Brontë
Giovanni Henrico Albicastro was the pseudonym of Johann Heinrich von Weissenburg (c. 1660 – after 1730), a talented amateur musician who published his compositions pseudonymously. Albicastro came from the village of Bieswangen, near Pappenheim in central Bavaria, not far from the village of Weissenburg (“White Castle”, thus “Albicastro”). Johann Gottfried Walther included Albicastro in his Musicalisches Lexicon (1732) under the mistaken supposition that Albicastro came from Switzerland; consequently he has often been included in lists of Swiss musicians. He might be classified as a Bavarian-born composer of Italian music that was published in both the Protestant and Catholic Low Countries.
In 1686 Weissenburg arrived in Leiden, in the Netherlands, where he registered at the University of Leiden as a Musicus Academiae, but his name does not appear in the university’s archives. In 1696 a collection of twelve of his trio sonatas appeared, entitled Il giardino armonico sacro-profano (“The Sacred-Profane Harmonic Garden”), Opus 3. Edited by Francois Barbry, it was published in Bruges by Francois van Heurck; no copies of the last six, or of Albicastro's opus 1 or opus 2 from Bruges seem to have survived.

In Amsterdam a separate set of opus numbers were published by Estienne Roger: Collections of violin sonatas (Opp. 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9), trio sonatas (Opp. 1, 4 and 8), and string concertos (Op. 7) in a Corellian idiom. During the last phases of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1713), he served as a captain of cavalry. He remained active in this position until 1730, the last that is heard of him.
Here are his complete opus 7 concertos, played by Collegium Marianum & Collegium 1704 Riccardo Masahide Minasi, principal violin Václav Luks, harpsichord & direction Luca Giardini, Eleonora Machová, Markéta Knittlová, Edouardo Garcia Salas - violin I Lenka Koubková, Jan Hádek, Lenka Zelbová, Petr Zemanec - violin II Josef Fiala Donate Schack, Katerina Trsnavská - viola Marek Štryncl, Detmar Leertouwer, Doris Runge - cello Xenia Löffler, Meike Güldenhaupt - oboe Jan Krigovský, Ondřej Štajnochr - double bass Evangelina Mascardi – theorbo.

The illustration is Poussin’s “Landscape with a Calm Lake (1650/1651).

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