“… now we heard no more of the cornett, which once gave life to the organ…”
-John Evelyn, 1662
Some of my favorite projects over the past few years have involved playing alone with historic Italian organs, particularly the division repertoire, but not only. One of the wonderful things about playing divisions on the cornetto is that you are playing a single line of a polyphonic texture. When the other voices are played on an Italian Renaissance organ, with its wonderfully vocal timbre and articulation, the cornetto becomes part of the organ. As the Italians phrased it, the cornetto plays nell’organo (in the organ), or in the words of John Evelyn, the English diarist, the cornetto “gives life to the organ”. I have always loved this experience. In fact, it is one of the reasons I have chosen to live in Italy for the past three decades, since Italian organs are so much more friendly to the cornetto and to voices than northern instruments. This way of bonding to the organ works well in division pieces, but it also works in polyphonic instrumental music, which of course developed out of the division tradition.
Most of these projects in recent years have been together with Liuwe Tamminga, organist at San Petronio in Bologna, and curator of the wonderful Tagliavini collection at the Museo Colombano. In 2010 we recorded, together with harpist Maria Cleary and viol players Alberto Rasi, Claudia Pasetto and Leonardo Bortolotto, the CD La Bella Minuta, using the Antegnati organ in the wonderful church of Santa Barbara in Mantova. There are further perfomances of this program planned, including the London Festival of Baroque Music in 2016.
Liuwe and I have also performed extensively with meantone organs in North America, particularly on an extended tour in October of 2014. We will continue this project in February and March of 2016 traveling to both the US and to Mexico.
September 24: Almenno San Salvatore (Bergamo) TBC
June 15: Boston Early Music Festival (La Bella Minuta) TBC
September 14: Notre Dame University (South Bend, IN)