Rescued, revived and presented on record for the first time, sacred and secular organ works by a friend to Verdi, Puccini and Saint-Saëns.
Almost forgotten today, the Piedmontese musician Giovanni Maria Pelazza was born in 1847 and at the age of 24 became organist at the parish church of Romano Canavese. Afforded the opportunity to exercise his perfoming skills and creative imagination upon a particularly impressive example of contemporary Italian organ building, installed nine years previously by the firm of Camillo Guglielmo Bianchi, Pelazza composed most of the works on this album for use during and after services in the church. He later moved to Marseilles, and then in 1898 emigrated to Buenos Aires, becoming chapel master to a church which served the local Italian community. He died there in 1936, having thoroughly reformed and improved the standard of sacred music performance in the city.
As a church and instrumental composer Pelazza was more original than most of his local contemporaries. The collection of 12 Suonate su varii tuoni demonstrates a reduction in the hitherto dominant influence of Rossini and the bel canto tradition upon non-vocal Italian music, and at the same time an awareness of the organ’s potential as a symphonic instrument. The collection opens in the grand manner with a majestic Allegro sinfonico and thereafter supplies voluntaries for use during and after the Mass, including a solemn Adagio per l'Elevazione and a fun Polka-finale.
Making his debut on Brilliant Classics, Fabio Macera has also chosen extracts from Organ Masses in C and D major by Pelazza, and three further sonatas written for the feast of the Holy Sacrament. On this new recording he plays a stylistically appropriate organ built in 1821 by the Serassi firm for the Parish Church of St Bartholomew in Borzonasca, near Genoa.