Fasolo: Annuale Opera Ottava, Venezia 1645

Luca Scandali, Bella Gerit
76:35
Tactus TC590701

Fasolo’s Annuale Opera Ottava is essentially a handbook for organists offering music appropriate for services throughout the year. The present CD offers liturgical reconstructions, ordinary and propers, for three types of mass: the Missa in Dominicis diebus, the Missa in duplicibus diebus  and the Missa Beatae Mariae Virginis. Fasolo’s music, played by Luca Scandali on a characterful 1547 organ by Luca di Bernardino in the Chiesa di San Domenico in Cortona, alternates with appropriate chant sung by the Ensemble Bella Gerit. The main star of the CD is the venerable 16th-century organ, which offers an intriguing range of stops. It is imaginatively presented by Luca Scandali, who manages to entice the most gentle and almost strident sounds from the instrument. The chant is beautifully unanimous, and has the pleasant detachment of working clergy perhaps almost over-familiar with its phrases. The only slight fly in the ointment is the audible difference in background sound as we switch from organ solo to the voices and back again – clearly the two were recorded separately and edited together. Fasolo’s publication appeared in the wake of Frescobaldi’s much more famous Fiori Musicali  of 1635, but in its subtle differences from it suggests that local liturgical traditions and musical practices were still very much respected. Rather than pick a publication like Frescobaldi’s off the shelves, at least some local organists decided to compile rival publications in imitation but reflecting their own specific talents and the traditions within which they operated.

D. James Ross