The Bach concerto transcriptions are a
fascinating body of music, apart from anything else because
of their fascinating variety of sources. And, as so much
of the music is Italian, it is interesting to receive this
recording featuring an Italian player, playing an Italian
instrument: the three manual 1986 Tamburini in the church
of Santa Maria Segreta in Milan.
Alessio Corti is a former student, and
indeed successor as Professor of Organ at the Geneva Conservatory,
of Lionel Rogg. Born in Milan in 1967, and prize-winner at
several competitions, Corti impresses through his excellently
judged tempi which are never too quick. He plays throughout
with control, commitment and great musicality. Occasionally
clipped endings of figures, or one-dimensional articulation
- track 15, right hand at 1:08 for instance - are the exception.
Occasionally I find the slower movements lack a certain momentum.
I would question a little bit some registration
choices. The sound of the plenum with its brash - occasionally
stratospheric - mixtures in the not inconsiderable acoustic
make initially for arresting listening but after around 20
minutes those mixtures begin to grate. I find it hard not
to question any solution where the plenum is used so extensively
without the pedal reeds – we wouldn’t do it after all in
any other context. I prefer therefore the solution found
by Pieter van Dijk on his recordings of the Concertos (Hänssler
edition CD 92.095) where the use of the Alkmaar organ’s principals
makes for more convincing balances in general between soloists
and ripieno. And although the quality of the principal stops
in the present recording is good, Alkmaar’s are just untouchable.
Another major plus point for Alessio Corti
is his use of a 4’ solo in the large C major Concerto, BWV
594. A practice initially proposed in an essay by Luigi Tagliavini,
it has the great advantage of preserving the pitch relationship
between the soloist and orchestra in Vivaldi’s original score.
Corti can’t beat van Dijk’s recording then,
but this is well worth tracking down for his consistently
stylish and musical playing. The booklet is unfortunately
inadequate and contains no photo of the organ.
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