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Following the ‘world premiere’ recording of a selection of works by Gaetano Valeri (1764-1822) by Alessandro Perin in 2018 comes the ‘complete organ music’ played by Paolo Bottini on five historic Italian organs. From the literature cited, Valeri’s music is a recent discovery. He was organist of Padua Cathedral from 1785 until his death, and most of his Sonatas are short, binary-form pieces (the longest, a theme with variations, lasts seven-and-a-half minutes) in a style derived from Haydn and Mozart and dominated by cantabile melodies with lavish decoration. This lightweight music – ‘Alberti’ basses often feature – must surely have pleased congregations, and Valeri’s registration instructions make full use of the colourful Italian organ. Musical styles in both opera house and church were hardly different, although the range of subtitles and tempo indications in these organ pieces reveal a composer with a wealth of musical imagination, albeit within short time-spans.

Paolo Bottini recorded the 77 pieces over a period of more than two years and is evidently at home with this style of music, capturing the melodies and rhythms with engaging character, thus avoiding repetition. The booklet includes organ specifications, a bibliography and details of the principal publishers of Valeri’s music.

RUPERT GOUGH Read the full review on Agora Classica


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