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Gambini: Organ Music

By Marco Ruggeri

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By Marco Ruggeri. By Carlo Andrea Gambini. Classical. CD. Naxos #BRI95515. Published by Naxos (NX.BRI95515).

Item Number: NX.BRI95515

Carlo Andrea Gambini (1819-1865) was passed over by the compilers of Grove's dictionary, and almost none of his diverse output has been preserved on record. Here, then, is a marvellous chance to catch up with the thoroughly entertaining work of a musician, Genoese born and bred. He was no organ specialist but a musician of diverse talents who composed for the stage, with at least three operas to his name, the concert-hall, including symphonic tone-poems and concert-overtures. His extant output, however, centres on church music. L'organo moderno Op.106 is a collection of 24 versets for organ: brief pieces of hugely varied character, designed as inserts to cover or accompany variousstages of the Mass that would otherwise be silent. Gambini is an imaginative composer for the organ's timbral possibilities: flutes, horns, bassoons, and Vox Humana stops are all given solo spots. These are then further exploited in the Concertone per molti stromenti, which features folk-like melodies. In his own booklet introduction to Gambini, Marco Ruggeri explains that he has chosen to arrange some of the composer's piano music for organ, such as excerpts from the Capricci caratteristici Op.55 and the Scintille elettriche Op.90, whose work-titles (chorale, toccata and so on) suggest a compatibility with the organ. Le Quattro Stagioni Op.128 was composed at a time when Vivaldi's now ubiquitous cycle of concertos was completely unknown. Made up of four parts, one for each season, the work expresses the composer's perceptions of nature (evoking birdsong, storms and ice), and of seasonal rituals, both sacred and secular (hunting in autumn, a prayer following a summer storm, winter dances). The organ music of lesser-known, 19th-century Italian composers has been explored by Marco Ruggeri on several Brilliant Classics albums. Here he plays on the instrument built by Ernesto Lingiardi in 1854 for the Church of St. Vittore, Calcio, in the Lombardian province of Bergamo.

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