These sonatas were published in 1780 in Venice, where Giovanni Battista Grazioli (1746-1828) had become an organist at St Mark’s Basilica two years earlier; and in 1785 he would be appointed principal organist, on the death of Baldassare Galuppi. He was known in his own time as an especially accomplished performer whose compositions concentrated on work for the church, though these collections of keyboard works were evidently designed for domestic consumption.
Nearly all the 12 sonatas are structured in a conventional quick-slow-quick three-movement form, most of them in major keys, and notable for their elegant melodies and wealth of invention. The recording’s coda represents Grazioli’s work at St Mark’s with a Pastorale for organ composed for use over the Christmas season.
This is probably the first-ever complete recording of Grazioli’s harpsichord sonatas (not to be confused with the organ sonatas by his son Alessandro). It marks the third appearance on Brilliant by the Veronese early-music specialist Chiara Minali. Her previous albums of Marcello (95277) and Ignaz Spergher (95834) have won glowing reviews for the technical finesse and expressive refinement of her playing.
‘Chiara Minali is a superb organist and harpsichordist.’ La Pagina dell’Organo (Marcello).
‘Chiara Minali plays with clarity and appropriate rhythmic drive, which on the organ sounds full of energy… an excellent introduction to music that should be more widely known.’ Choir and Organ, October 2019 (Spergher) ‘A careful, neat and very accurate interpretation even in the little details. A remarkable harpsichord technique and a particular ability to grasp the essence of the composer’s inspiration stands out… The excellent musical qualities that this fine young performer has so far shown us in these two beautiful albums of 18th-century Venetian music make us hopeful for future recordings from the same source.’ La Pagina dell’Organo (Spergher).
Giovanni Battista Grazioli (1746-1820) lived the largest part of his life in Venice, where in 1785 he was appointed organist of the famous and prestigious San Marco. He wrote highly acclaimed sacred liturgical music, and never turned his hand to opera, which was quite unusual as opera was supremely fashionable at the time.
This new recording presents two sets of 6 harpsichord sonatas, the opus 1 and opus 2. They are in 3 movements, allegro–adagio-allegro. The style is elegant, restrained, never ostentatiously virtuosic, always graceful and of good taste.
Chiara Minali is a successful Italian organist and harpsichordist. Her recording of Ignazio Spergher’s keyboard works for Brilliant Classics received a 5-star review in the British magazine “Choir and Organ”: “played with clarity and appropriate rhythmic drive”.