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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger



 


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Renaissance Organ Music
Michelangelo ROSSI (1601/02-1656)

Toccata VI in G [03:47]
Giovanni GABRIELI (1553/56-1612)

Canzon francese in E [03:02]
Girolamo FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643)

Partite 11 sopra l’Aria de Monicha in G [07:37]
Tarquinio MERULA (1594/95-1665)

Capriccio cromatico in D [03:33]
Girolamo FRESCOBALDI

Toccata per l’Elevatione in E [03:29]
Canzona III in G [03:40]
Tomás DE SANTA MARIA (?-1570)

8 Fantasies in the eight church modes* [09:09]
Enriquez DE VALDERRABANO (fl mid-16th c.)

Fantasia primero grado* [02:27]
Antonio DE CABEZON (1510-1566)

Diferencias sobre el canto Llano de Cavallero* [02:47]
Claudio MERULO (1533-1604)

Toccata* [05:27]
Vincenzo PELLEGRINI (?-c1631/32)

Canzona per organo ‘La Serpentina’* [02:24]
Michael PRAETORIUS (1569/73-1621)

Hymnus de Beate Trinitate ‘O lux beata Trinitas’* [03:04]
Paul HOFHAIMER (1459-1537)

Recordare (1. Pars) – Ab hac familia (2. Pars)* [02:36]
Johannes KOTTER (c1485-1541)

Salve Regina* [09:38]
Christian ERBACH (1568/73-1635)

Ricercar 2. toni* [10:28]
Herbert Tachezi, organ
Recorded 1968, 1980, 1981 in the Stiftskirche, Ossiach and the Hofkirche, Innsbruck*, Austria ADD
WARNER APEX 2564-60446-2 [76:44]


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The title of this CD is a little misleading. Some of the composers represented here can hardly be considered ‘renaissance’ any more, like Frescobaldi, Rossi and Merula. In particular Rossi and also the German composer Christian Erbach experimented with temperaments in their compositions which – if played on the appropriate instrument – leads to very sharp dissonances – a characteristically ‘baroque’ phenomenon.

The repertoire on this recording shows a wide variety of forms and styles by composers from Italy, Germany, Austria and Spain. Some of the compositions are original works for keyboard, some for other instruments, like the Fantasia by De Valderrabano and the Pavana and Galliarda by De Milan, which were originally composed for the vihuela. Most keyboard works can be played on any keyboard instrument. But some are specifically for the organ because of their liturgical character, like Frescobaldi’s Toccata per l’Elevazione and the pieces by Michael Praetorius and Kotter. Tomás de Santa Maria also had a specific instrument in mind, when he composed his eight Fantasies: they come from the ‘Libro llamado arte de tañer fantasia’, which is a tutor on playing the clavichord, and on improvisation.

The booklet doesn’t give any information on the organs played here. I know the organ from the Hofkirche in Innsbruck from other recordings. It is from the 16th century, and is tuned in meantone temperament. The importance of that fact is clearly audible in the last piece on this CD, the Ricercar 2. toni by Christian Erbach. The chromaticism in the beginning and at the end has a much stronger effect than would be the case if the organ had been tuned in equal temperament. The other piece which aims at this kind of effect is the Capriccio cromatico by Tarquinio Merula. But in this case the effect isn’t by far as strong. It leads me to the assumption that this organ, about which I don’t know anything and couldn’t find anything in encyclopaedias or on the Internet, is tuned in a more ‘modern’ temperament.

Although the interpretation by Herbert Tachezi has in it much to admire and enjoy, I am not always happy with the choice of repertoire. Playing Italian music on an Austrian organ isn’t that much of a problem: Austria was strongly under Italian influence. But there are limitations: pieces to be played during the elevation, like the ‘Toccata per l’elevazione’ by Frescobaldi, were usually registered with a ‘piffaro’ or ‘voce umana’, a stop which is present on any Italian organ of the 16th and 17th century. No registrations are given, but there certainly is no Italian ‘piffaro’ here, which does mar this work’s character.

Even less satisfying is the choice of pieces by Spanish composers. Spanish organs were very different from organs in the rest of Europe, and it is almost impossible to find stops on – for instance – an Austrian organ which can imitate the stops on Spanish organs. A typical feature of Spanish organs are the number of reed stops, like ‘trompeta’, ‘regalia’ and ‘clarín’. Many organs had a whole battery of ‘clarines’. Another stop which is on every Spanish organ is the ‘corneta’. All these stops are missing here. In Luis de Milan’s Pavana and Galliarda Tachezi uses the ‘Trommeta’ (trumpet stop) of the organ in Innsbruck, but its sounds is quite different from that of the Spanish reed stops. And considering the fact that Milan’s pieces were originally conceived for the vihuela – the Spanish renaissance guitar – one wonders why on earth Tachezi has chosen to use the trumpet stop here.

I have mixed feelings about this recording. It is disappointing that the booklet is so short on information about the music and, even more, about the organs, since I think it is the instruments which make this recording interesting.

Many pieces on this CD have been recorded elsewhere, and probably better. That doesn’t mean Tachezi’s playing is bad – not at allv - but there is more in this music than he delivers.

 

Johan van Veen



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