Girolamo Cavazzoni: Complete Organ Works

Ivana Valotti
146:38 (2 CDs in a single jewel case)
Tactus TC 510391

This complete account of the organ works of Cavazzoni features the magnificent 1565 organ ‘in Cornu Epistolae’ by Graziadio Antegnati in the Basilica palatina di Santa Barbara in Mantua expertly played by Ivana Valotti. The instrument is perfect in period for Cavazzoni’s music, but also in character and variety of stops. The mechanism is understandably audible but almost never to the detriment of the music, and the clarity of the various stops attests to diligent upkeep over the centuries. I have been mainly aware of Cavazzoni’s keyboard music as providing useful instrumental interludes in programmes of choral music by composers contemporary with the Gabrielis, but hearing this comprehensive collection of a bewildering variety of musical forms so authoritatively played on this magnificent Renaissance instrument made me aware that Cavazzoni’s music stands up very well in its own right. More harmonically adventurous than many of the organ music composers in the second half of the sixteenth century, Cavazzoni displays a ready imagination well beyond the technically showy but ultimately rather conservative music of his contemporaries. Where needed plainchant incipits and ‘links’ are provided by Gianluca Ferrabini, and I felt just occasionally that it might have been worth engaging a small capella for the tutti chant sections. These are CDs to dip into at random to enjoy the wonderful aural palette of the Antegnati organ, the sensitive playing of Ms. Valotti and Cavazzoni’s creative response to a delightful range of musical forms.

D. James Ross

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