Luca Scandali (Graziadio Antegnati organ 1565)
Brilliant Classics 95259
The Graziadio Antegnati 1565 organ in the Basilica of Santa Barbara, Mantua, survives largely intact in its original configuration. Designed for Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga and his organist-composer Girolamo Cavazzoni, it has nine ripieno stops, two flutes and a fiffaro, as well as two sets of split keys in each octave. It was also designed to fit the acoustics of the basilica, something captured well on this recording, from the arresting organo pieno used for the opening Padavano toccata to the lighter-registered canzonas by Pellegrini. Neither composer was associated with Mantua – Padavano worked mainly in Venice and Pellegrini in Milan – but their music was certainly written with instruments of this kind in mind. Padavano’s four surviving toccatas (one attributed) are based largely on slow-moving harmonies decorated by quick figurations, with some imitative sections. His two ricercars are complex contrapuntal constructions. Published in 1604, all are quite serious pieces demanding concentrated listening. It works well to break them up, as here, with groups of Pellegrini’s sectional canzonas published in 1599 which show a lighter idiom and some fine inspiration. Scandali uses the canzonas effectively to demonstrate the variety of registrations possible on the organ. Overall this is an excellent match of instrument and repertoire, and a convincing demonstration of this highly significant organ’s possibilities.
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