The most comprehensive collection of organ music by a major forerunner to Monteverdi, recorded on a historically significant instrument by an organist with a distinguished catalogue of 17th-century repertoire.
Born in northern Italy around the turn of the 16th century – no more precise data is available – Girolamo Cavazzoni became organist of the cathedral in Mantova in 1621 and soon after entered the service of the Gonzaga family whose lavish artistic patronage sponsored and encouraged many of the finest Italian composers of the day. During his Mantuan years Cavazzoni taught the organ to Costanzo Antegnati (1549–1624), son of the organ builder at S Barbara, Graziadio Antegnati. Costanzo's L'arte organica (Brescia, 1608) recalls Cavazzoni as ‘Hieronimo d'Urbino già mio honorato maestro’.
In 1565–6 he supervised the building of the organ in the church of S Barbara, Mantua, and also played the organ there at Mass. This is the very instrument played by Federico Del Sordo, lending his recording a unique authenticity and powerful sense of place and time. The restoration of the single-manual Santa Barbara organ (1995-2006) was undertaken by Giorgio Carli with the aim of returning the instrument to its original pristine state as far as possible, rather than extending or ‘improving’ it, and thus the colours of the instrument closely resemble those with which Cavazzoni was familiar.
Much of the music here was written for liturgical performance in the alternatim fashion, whereby verses of the Mass text, the Magnificat or an antiphon are alternatively played and embroidered by the organ and then chanted by a choir. Federico Del Sordo draws on two original volumes, printed in Venice in the 1540s, plus a pair of ricercars to be found in multi-authored collections of the time. Together they build a portrait of a
composer as stylish as he was pragmatic.
Praise for Federico Del Sordo on Brilliant Classics
‘Valerio Losito and Federico Del Sordo deliver very fine performances which convincingly bring out the characteristics and qualities of Tessarini's sonatas.’ Musica dei donum (Tessarini, 94787)
‘Federico del Sordo’s playing is entirely appropriate to the historic style and the nature of the contrasting moods of the pieces.’ Early Music (Antegnati, 95628)
'stunningly realised in liturgical reconstructions... a magnificent tribute.' Choir & Organ (Merulo, 95145)
'Del Sordo plays this with brisk articulation and fast tempos... I’d like to hear more from Del Sordo.' American Record Guide (Bonelli, 95816)
· Girolamo Cavazzoni was the son of the composer Marco Antonio Cavazzoni. He was organist at the Cathedral of Mantua and was employed at the court of Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga. Moreover, he supervised the construction of the new organ in the Basilica Palatina di S. Barbara built by Graziadio Antegnati in 1565, the instrument used for this recording.
· Girolamo Cavazzoni’s works largely consist in the two volumes of tablature: the Libro primo, which was printed in Venice in 1543 by Bernardino Vitali, and the organ tablatures comprising the «Misse, Himni, Magnificat» that make up the Libro secondo.
· This 3-CD set presents the complete organ works by Cavazzoni, a collection of Recercars and Canzones, the instrumental music alternating with the appropriate liturgical choral Hymns and parts of the Mass.
· Played on the historical 1565 Antegnati organ, the information and specifications of which are included in the booklet. Performed and sung with total dedication and deep knowledge of the style by organist Federico Del Sordo and the Nova Schola Gregoriana conducted by Alberto Turco, who already successfully recorded similar repertoire for Brilliant Classics: Organ Alternatim Masses by Merulo and Salvatore, keyboard works by Antegnati, Vendi, Corradini and Bonelli.
· The scholarly liner notes in the booklet are written by Federico Del Sordo.