Categories
Recording

Antico tastame

Organi storici dell’Arcidiocesi di Monreale
Giovan Battista Vaglica
63:20
Tactus TC 720003

This recording has been a labour of love by Giovan Battista Vaglica who is heavily involved in cataloguing and restoring organs in the Archdiocese of Monreale in Sicily. He plays on three of these instruments here: a 17th-century organ, originally by Antonino La Valle but much altered, in the church of Maria SS. del Carmelo; an anonymous 18th-century instrument in the Chiesa Madre of Terrasini; a 19th-century instrument by an unknown maker in the church of S. Vito in Monreale. The music – all by Sicilian or Neapolitan composers – is well chosen to show off the variety of stops on each of the organs. The two earlier instruments are used for Toccatas by Alessandro Scarlatti and Francesco Durante, as well as a fine fugue by Domenico Scarlatti. A rather over-long set of partite on the Follia di Spagna by the elder Scarlatti provides a good opportunity to put the Terrasini instrument through its paces. The majority of tracks on the recording are played on the Monreale organ, featuring music by Cimarosa, Paisiello and Pergolesi, as well as the lesser-known Neapolitans Pietro Altieri and Fedele Fenaroli. This is all attractive music, without taking itself too seriously, and successfully showcases the surprising variety of timbres available – with only five stops – on the Monreale organ. This recording is a useful reminder of the riches that survive in just one small area of Sicily and the importance of keeping organs such as these in playing condition.

Noel O’Regan