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Masters of the Italian Renaissance - works by Merulo, A. & G. Gabrieli, Cavazzoni, Antico et al. / Andrea Marcon, organ


Notes & Reviews:

The recently restored organ of Valvassone occupies a unique place in the history of Italian organs as it is the only surviving instrument of Venice on which the prodigious output of 16th century Venetian organ music can be heard as it would have originally sounded. For itself it constitutes a vivid testimony of a musical civilization that reached its peak in Venice during the Renaissance; a culture reflected in the sonorities of the organ of Valvassone in which intense cantabile of the Tenori stop, the beautifully round voice of the Flauto and the solemnity of the Ripieno celebrate, similarly to the great Venetian paintings, the taste for magnificence and luminosity of color.


A rare Italian instrument
Organist Andrea Marcon has been building a healthy discography of music performed on some of Italy’s historic instruments. This time out Marcon plays the “Valvasone organ,” an instrument originally built in 1533 for the Church of SS. Corpo di Cristo by Vincenzo Columbi. Although the instrument has been restored in 1999, it does have some of its original pipes – this is pretty authentic-sounding stuff. The organ is gently voiced with a subtle pungency in tone that is very compelling. As would be expected, the repertoire is mostly comprised of ricercare, canzone, toccate and song intabulations – the cornerstone works of the early keyboard schools. Of the composers on the recording, I think only Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli and maybe Claudio Merulo fall into the “masters” category of the disc’s title. Marcon avoids excess throughout and while this very respectful treatment of each work might strike some as too conservative, I really enjoy the way he allows the music to simply sing. This recording has some subtle pleasures that will be mostly of interest to aficionados of the early keyboard.
Submitted on 05/18/10 by Craig Zeichner 
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