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It is not often that a series of CDs of unknown repertoire appears, performed on historically appropriate instruments by performers with real commitment, and who have captured the vitality and the character of the music to a remarkable degree.

In chronological order, Giordani’s offertories are fine pieces for organ and soprano. The style is Mozartian, and given that Giordani and Mozart were almost exact contemporaries, it is not possible to guess in which direction the influences flowed. The keyboard writing is orchestral, but Rossi brings the music to life with effective registration changes and stylish phrasing on the single-manual Callido organ (with divided stops) in generous acoustics. Echoes of Mozart’s piano sonatas and Exsultate jubilate can be heard. Organists keen on Mozart will want this CD and the music.

Musilli was maestro di cappella at the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi, and these 19 recently discovered pieces are characterised by the lively operatic style typical of the period (Rossini comes to mind). as Bianconi demonstrates to great effect on these two 19th-century organs, the music is admirably suited to the variety of tonal effects, including drums. The playing captures the style wonderfully (complete with noises from the plethora of stop changes). genres include allegros, andantinos, adagios, a Pastorale and a Theme with Variations, plus a liturgically orientated Offertorio and Elevazione.

Fumagalli worked in Milan and taught Enrico Bossi, later travelling and playing important historic instruments in Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Prague and Vienna. He was a prolific composer, and his best-known work, the Capriccio ‘La caccia’, was played by W.T. Best. His compositions stride both the classical and the romantic traditions of Italian organs, both well demonstrated here. The idioms are orchestral/operatic and Fumagalli is a fine exponent of this dramatic and colourful music.

DAVID PONSFORD Read the full review on Agora Classica


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