Castello Consort

(6 press reviews)
Original Recording Format: DXD
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The Castello Consort‘s debut album Fantastissimus from Navis Classics is entirely dedicated to the Stylus Phantasticus. Featuring works from the Renaissance alongside brand new compositions by Dutch composer Martijn Padding.

It’s a complete picture is created of what the Stylus Phantasticus has to offer in all its colors, virtuosity but also tranquility and a great sense of musical freedom. In a sense, everything in this style is an exponent and the title of the album should also be seen in that light, celebrating this fantastic style.

“To us, ‘Stylus Phantasticus’ is a playground that offers endless opportunities to explore new sound colors, musical characters and ways of improvisation.” 

Financial Support for the album was provided by SENA Muziekproductiefonds and donations via Voordekunst.

Recording Producer Daan van Aalst

The Stylus Phantasticus carries an immense challenge but also a huge opportunity for recording producers. The virtuosity and broad spectrum of colors are destined to interact with the best church-acoustics you can find and we found that sound in the Mennonite church in Haarlem where Gustav Leonard recorded numerous discs in the past.

The sound quality is enhanced by the meantone intonation and microtonal organ that can actually play ‘in tune’ in stead of equal temperament. Add to that an inspired performance and great understanding of the music itself by the musicians and from that point every logic in a microphone setup works. What you will hear is pure microphone technique without any filter or other artificial tool. Enjoy your ride!

The Castello Consort about the project

We like to explore different types of timbres and other ways of expressing ourselves through 17th century music. In the very beginning we focused mainly on early Italian baroque music. We recently started broadening both our repertoire and the size of our ensemble. With each program we look for a certain sound (and instrumentation) that is most convincing for the music we play. In ‘Fantastissimus’ we challenged ourselves even more by working with a contemporary composer, something we really enjoyed.

We felt that there was a lot of room for creative freedom when creating the program for this album. Martijn Padding was very interested in our favorite repertoire and we presented him with several compositions that were in some way related to the Stylus Phantasticus. Inspired by all these composers, Martijn composed his own ‘Stylus Phantasticus’ collection, and we looked for the best early music to combine with Martijn’s completed work. When selecting these pieces, we did not want to limit ourselves too much by focusing on just one short period of history. Our goal was to find music that could be combined naturally with Martijn’s pieces. We approached the entire program as a composition in itself, connected both to the Stylus Phantasticus and to the spirit of our ensemble.

From the Booklet

“We love exploring different kinds of sound colors and other ways of expressing ourselves through 17th-century music. In the very beginning we focused mostly on early Italian baroque music for small chamber music settings. More recently, we started broadening both our repertoire and the size of our ensemble. For each program we look for a sound (and instrumentation) that is most convincing for the music we play. In ‘Fantastissimus’ we challenged ourselves even more by working together with a contemporary composer, something that we enjoyed very much.”

“We felt that there was a lot of space for creative freedom in the making of the program. Martijn Padding was very interested in hearing our favorite repertoire, and we presented many compositions to him that connected with the Stylus Phantasticus in one way or another.

Inspired by all of those composers, Martijn composed his own ‘Stylus Phantasticus’ collection, and we looked for the best early music to combine with Martijn’s finished work. While selecting these pieces, we did not want to constrain ourselves too much by focusing on only one short period in history. Our aim was to find music that would naturally weave through Martijn’s pieces. We approached the complete program as a composition in itself, resembling both the Stylus Phantasticus and our ensemble’s spirit.”

Castello Consort

Elise Dupont, Violin
Willem van der Sijde (Amsterdam, 1691). On loan from the Nationaal Muziekinstrumenten Fonds.

Anne-Linde Visser, Viola da Gamba & Cello
Gamba: Anton Wiegers (Dussen, 1980). Cello: Henry Jay (London, c.1750).

Matthijs van der Moolem, Sackbut
Aron Vajna, after anonymous Italian instrument (c.1560) in the Accademia Filarmonica di Verona
(Basel, 2021). Played with a copy of the mouthpiece from the same collection, attributed to Schnitzer.

Menno van Delft, Organ
Orgelmakerij Reil, after 17h-century North Italian examples (Heerde, 2020).

Emma Huijsser, Harp
Dario Pontiggia, after Barberini (early 17th century) in the Museo degli Strumenti Musicali di Roma.

Giulio Quirici, Theorbo
Jaume Bosser Artal, after Matteo Sellas (Barcelona, 2013). Given name: Ludovica.

Sakura Goto, Violin
Anonymous (probably Tyrol, c.1800).

Benny Aghassi, Dulcian
K. Bickhardt & B. Junghänel (Germany, c.1985).

Alon Portal, Viola da Gamba
François Bodart, after Nicholas Bertrand, (Belgium, 1990).


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Sinfonia, Sesto Tuono
Intonazione I
Sonata Undecima a 4
Sonata a 2, Violino e Viola da Gamba
Intonazione II
Sonata Duodecima a 3
Canzon Quinta a 4
Intonazione III
Sonata I: Prelude
Hommage to Biber
Sonata Quarta a 3
Consonanze Stravaganti
Sonata a 6 stromenti
Aeolian Cascades

Total time: 01:15:48

Additional information





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Financial Support

SENA Muziekproductiefonds and Donors at Voordekunst


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Original Recording Format


Daan van Aalst

Recording Location

Doopsgezinde Kerk in Haarlem, Netherlands on September 13-16, 2022

Release DateSeptember 29, 2023

Press reviews

Positive Feedback

How about a trip on the wild side with music of the Baroque and period instruments? Can you take things a bid sideways? This is Fantastissimus—an album filled with music that is just a bit twisted. And I’m loving it!

Not all music from the Baroque is harmonious; there are many examples of composers who loved to tug at our sensibilities. When you then couple them with the fecund creative mind of 20th century Dutch composer Martijn Padding (1956), the results can be quite unexpected and delightfully unusual.

The core of the album is the Padding’s 2022 composition Stylus Phantasticus, commissioned by Castello Consort for this release. Entwined and alternating with movements from Padding’s work are compositions by 17th century composers… The resulting rich, delicious mix of Baroque and contemporary is a pure delight to enjoy.

And, while the music and performances are immensely pleasurable, my enjoyment is greatly enriched by the excellent sonics captured by producer and recording engineer Daan van Aalst.

Reformatorisch Dagblad

The result is a lively arrangement of modern and historical compositions (…) In order to enjoy the excellent music of the Castello Consort, the listener’s ears must have already become familiar with modern, dissonant consonances.

Nederlands Dagblad

A pleasure to listen to those old instruments. To the lively violins, sonore viola da gamba, the harp and the organ built after old examples, but also the beautiful wind instruments.

Opus Klassiek

This album turns out as an outright journey of discovery (…) The beautiful recording was made by Daan van Aalst, also founder and owner of the music label Navis, certainly no stranger to our site. His registration in the acoustic space of the Baptist Church in Haarlem ideal for the listener fits perfectly with the so colorful and pregnant play of this phenomenal ensemble that has expressed the many different characteristics of these so strongly different pieces in a truly brilliant way. Scores that come to life in a grandiose way thanks to these nine extremely talented musicians.

MusicWeb International

Beautifully recorded and superbly performed in a suitable church acoustic, this whole recording is a treasure-chest of discovery. All of the music ‘speaks’ to us with directness and candour.

NRC 4 out of 5

The Castello Consort explores a universe with beautiful vistas

Freedom and improvisation were paramount in the ‘Stylus Phantasticus‘, a style that emerged in the Seventeenth Century, with the rise of instrumental music. The human voice was still the norm, but other instruments also began to develop their own identity and no longer always had to be subservient to vocal whims.

The Dutch Castello Consort has embarked on a journey of discovery through that period on its debut album Fantastissimus. It asked contemporary composer Martijn Padding to ‘reflect’ musically on the – mainly – Italian pieces unearthed from archives. In this way Padding created his own Stylus Phantasticus.

The three young founders of the Castello Consort play trombone, violin and cello or viola da gamba. They had their own organ built for accompaniment, inspired by the Baroque organs that can still be found in Italy.

Not much has been written for that combination of instruments: the ensemble exhausted its repertoire in a few years. With that baggage in their backpack, the trio then had to make their own way through the music. The trio does this wonderfully on their debut album with a meeting between old and new that spans more than four centuries.

The album became a crossing in which the musicians explored a world of stylistic devices. Here music creates its own universe. For those who want to wander around there, Fantastissimus is a guide that offers beautiful views.


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Navis Classics 14 albums

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