The organ of the Badia Fiorentina monastery in the centre of Florence is one of the finest surviving examples of an Italian renaissance organ, completed in 1558 by the Tuscan organ builder Onofrio Zeffirini. The characteristically Italian timbre of the organ and its historical temperament make it the perfect instrument for performing repertoire from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
In her own booklet-note introduction to the repertoire on this album, Giovanna Ribolli explains that she has chosen a sequence of repertoire to display the organ at its most characteristic, but also to give a guided tour to high-points of European organ music of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. She opens her recital with a pair of toccatas, by the Venetian Gabrieli and the Florentine Frescobaldi, that give voice to the instrument’s most brilliant registers. A variation set by Pasquini enables her to range over the impressive stop-list including rarities such as a Nightingale stop.
There are two representatives of the English keyboard school, Byrd and Farnaby, at their most extrovert and virtuosic, and then two substantial pieces by the founder of the North German organ school, Sweelinck, followed by an ‘English masquerade’ by his pupil Scheidemann. Giovanna Ribolli rounds off this imaginatively programmed album in reflective mode with the Tiento y discurso de segundo tono by the Spanish composer and organist Francisco Correa de Arauxo. The album’s expressive journey is astutely planned, and her playing of this historic instrument brings out all its antique tone- colours.
The organist on this new recording is a native Florentine musician, Giovanna Riboli, who completed her studies in Amsterdam with Peter van Dijk and took masterclasses with early-music keyboard luminaries such as Paul Badura-Skoda, Martin Haselböck and Gustav Leonhardt. Having been assistant organist at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam from 2009 to 2012, Giovanna Riboli is now titulaire of the Badia Fiorentina abbey, as well as a founder-director of Mesotonica, an early-music salon giving concerts in the Tuscan city of Prato.
The organ of the Badia Fiorentina is a famous historical instrument, one of the finest surviving examples of an Italian renaissance organ. It was completed in 1558 by the celebrated organ builder Onofrio Zeffirini from Cortona, Tuscany. In 1978 the organ was restored and returned to its original state, whilst keeping the Trumpet and Cornet stops added by the organ builder Tronci. The characteristically Italian timbre of the organ and its historical temperament (quarter comma meantone 456.6 Hz at 22 ° C) make it the perfect instrument for performing repertoire from the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The pieces chosen for this recording are by some of the most important representatives of the musical cultures of the time, ranging from Italy to England, via Germany, Holland and Spain. The program includes works by Gabrieli, Frescobaldi, Pasquini, Byrd, Farnaby, Sweelinck, Scheidemann and Correa de Arauxo.
Organist Giovanna Riboli received her tuition at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where she also served as assistant organist of the Oude Kerk. In 2015 she was appointed titular organist of the Badia Fiorentina in Florence.