Petrali - Organ Music | Brilliant Classics 95613

Petrali - Organ Music


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Label: Brilliant Classics

Cat No: 95613

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 2

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 13th November 2020



Vincenzo Petrali (1830-1889) was an organist-composer active in the north of Italy. Acclaimed in his own time as a master improviser, the equal in this regard to French contemporaries such as Guilmant and Widor, he left a small, beautifully crafted body of original work for ecclesiastical use, around a third of it presented on this new album. He wrote two organ Masses in the tradition of 17th-century Venetian school composers such as Merula and Merulo, in which each verse of the text and its associated Gregorian chant inspires an instrumental meditation: Paolo Bottini has recorded the lesser-known F major Mass, which includes an especially dramatic, march-like Sonata for the Offertory and an ebullient final Allegro festoso.

Petrali composed in the musical language of his own time, drawing on both symphonic and operatic styles. However, he belonged to the Cecilian movement, exemplified by the sacred works of Mendelssohn, which sought to establish a new and distinctive idiom for church composition, which is heard to best effect in a quartet of Communion pieces at the end of CD 1, which fully exploit the size and array of tone-colours available to him on the newly-built instruments of the time.

In this spirit Petrali also composed 71 studies ‘for the modern organ’, collected in two volumes, and Paolo Bottini presents almost half of them on CD2. While composed with didactic purposes in mind, training pedal technique, introspection or melancholy but often rhythmic precision, sensitivity and imagination in handling different registers and stops and the like, the studies are delightful character pieces in their own right, not much given to surprisingly sunny in character.

Aside from the Gloria of the F major Organ Mass, there is almost no overlap between this new recording and the Brilliant Classics collection of Petrali’s organ music played by Marco Ruggeri (95160), making it an essential complement for organ buffs in possession of the previous volume, which won enthusiastic reviews: ‘Marco Ruggeri is an ideal interpreter here, completely simpatico with the varied requirements of this repertoire… [The album] sheds a welcome light on a little-known side-line of 19th-century Italian musical life’ (Fanfare, May 2016).

Played on three historical Lingiardi organs, dating from the time of composition of the music, instruments with which the composer was well acquainted, by organist Paolo Bottini, who already successfully recorded CDs for Brilliant Classics with keyboard works by Pescetti and Valeri.

The complete technical specifications of the organs are included in the booklet.

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