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This is one of those CDs you put on not knowing what to expect and end up being completely bowled over. Manuel Tomadin won the ECHO Grand Prix at Alkmaar last year. Here, for Fugatto’s ‘Historic Organs of Friuli Venezia Giulia’ series, he contributes a disc of pastorals and Christmas pieces by Bach, Buxtehude, and a raftof 17th- and 18th-century Italian composers of fair to middling obscurity, many of them unpublished. The other star of the show is the 1773 II/27 Francesco Dacci organ of S. Martino, Marano Lagunare, restored in 1980 by Franz Zanin; captured at close quarters in tinglingly clear sound, the instrument boasts vivid flues, strings, cornets and an array of buzzy reeds. It is therefore perfectly set up to deliver the drones, solos and echo effects of a programme which captures the pastoral’s vernacular, Nativity roots in nymphs-and-shepherds folk-dance celebrations based on reed-pipes and the piva (Italian bagpipe), and its development as a more formal musical structure by proper composers. Tomadin’s playing is acutely sensitive to the nuances of music which beguilingly combines elements of sacred mystery with foot-tapping entertainment. Pure delight.

GRAEME KAY Read the full review on Agora Classica

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