The Organ


Francesco Tasini on the Positive organ built by Claudio Merulo, A. Boito Conservatory, Parma
AURA AUR 430-2

Claudio Merulo was one of the great organist-composers of late Renaissance Italy. His Toccata d'Intavolatura d'Organo (Libro Primo) was published in 1598. Francesco Tasini plays the whole book on a small positive organ that Merulo himself built. The instrument was restored in 1964 and is at Boito Conservatory in Parma. It has only four registers: 4,2,1 principals and 2 flute. At first the lack of an 8' grounding is disconcerting, though the ear quickly adjusts. Once this has happened, then the listener can relax into a different world of extremely refined music that deserves and repays careful study and repeated hearing. The emphasis is on articulated runs set against slow-moving harmonic change in what seems to be an improvisatory style but in fact is a cleverly thought through musical construction.

I found myself more and more entranced by each piece as I became accustomed to the style, realising how and why players such as Merulo were so feted in their lifetimes. Don't be put off by this CD and the smallness of the organ. It really is superb music. Highly recommended.