On his latest adventure into little-known reaches of organ repertoire, Matteo Venturini travels to 19th-century Florence and brings back three little-known composers. He opens with a quartet of liturgical voluntaries by Padre Antonio Casini, notable for their fluid brilliance. Luigi Ferdinando Casamorata (1807-1881) was a more significant figure in Florentine musical life who trained in law but composed sacred music throughout his career. These Twelve Short Exercises were designed for use by the students of the newly founded organ school in Florence. Limpid and classical in style, they exploit the full range of colours available on new Italian organs of the period.
Casamorata’s Organ Mass develops its ideas in more relaxed fashion, less reliant on counterpoint than concerned to accompany the liturgy in a spirit of solemn devotion. Giovacchino Maglioni (1814-1888) was another composer and administrator who significantly contributed to the renewal of liturgical music against the prevailing fashion for opera. Matteo Venturini has chosen three excerpts from the third part of his Istituzioni Teorico-Pratiche per Organo from the 1870s; in character they comprise a missing link between the sunny extroversion of much operatically influenced instrumental writing of the period and the more sober aesthetic of the Cecilian movement.
To capture the original soundscape and spirit of these pieces as envisaged by their composers, organist Matteo Venturini has selected two instruments of the period for this recording. With its brilliant, direct voice, the monumental organ at Corsanico (Vincenzo Colonna 1606 / Agati-Tronci 1899) lends itself perfectly to the bright colours of Casini’s music. The organ in the Basilica di Santa Maria di Nazareth in Sestri Levante (built by Fratelli Serassi, 1832), with its intriguing solo register sound and magnificent tutti voices, was chosen for the works by Casamorata and Maglioni.
Critical praise for Matteo Venturini on Brilliant Classics:
Gronau: Chorale Variations (94843) ‘Technically impressive, but also stylistically convincing. His phrasing and articulation are very good, and his performances really breathe.’ (MusicWeb International)
Müthel: Complete Organ Music (95013) ‘A committed and convincing disc… excellent performances on a trio of fine sounding modern Italian organs.’ (Choir & Organ)
Weckmann: Complete Organ Music (95229) ‘Matteo Venturini proves himself to be an assured and perceptive guide through this enriching and deeply satisfying music.’ (MusicWeb International)
‘There is no shortage of characterful sounds for Venturini to draw on, and his fine performances embrace Weckmann’s different styles with grace, conviction, occasional humour and virtuosity aplenty.’ (Choir & Organ)
- This recording illustrates the development of the Tuscan organ school of the 19th century. The collection ranges from Father Antonio Casini’s brilliant compositions, with their echoes of contemporary opera, to the classical refinement of Luigi Ferdinando Casamorata, whose work occasionally reveals a recourse to counterpoint, and to the heartfelt romanticism of Giovacchino Maglioni, where melodic élan and imposing sound require extraordinary virtuoso skills, including the extensive use of the Pedal.
- To capture the original sound and spirit envisaged by the composers, for this recording organist Matteo Venturini has selected two period instruments. With its brilliant, direct voice, the monumental organ at Corsanico lends itself perfectly to the brilliant compositions of Father Antonio Casini. The organ in the Basilica di Santa Maria di Nazareth in Sestri Levante, with its intriguing solo register sound and magnificent tutti voices, was chosen for the works by Casamorata and Maglioni. The technical specifications of these instruments are included in the booklet.
- Matteo Venturini, one of the foremost organists of Italy, has already successfully recorded for Brilliant Classics, works by Gronau, Weckmann and Müthel.