Giuseppe Gherardeschi. Complete organ music

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Giuseppe Gherardeschi
Andrea Vannucchi
Organ 1
Giosuè Agati (1820)
Limite sull’Arno (Firenze), Italia
Organ 2
Pietro Agati (1797)
Vignole di Quarrata (Pistoia), Italia
Organ 3
Pietro Agati (1789)
Bargi, Camugnano (Bologna), Italia
Organo 4
Organo Cesare Romani (1587), Pietro Agati (1776), Giosuè e Nicomede Agati (1824), Luigi e Cesare Tronci (1856)
Gavinana, San Marcello Pistoiese (Pistoia), Italia

The Life Giuseppe Gherardeschi was born in Pistoia November 3rd, 1759. He was baptized the day after in the baptistery of his own Cathedral, where his father was maestro di cappella at least since 1775 and where he was appointed organist from 1755 to 1771. Giuseppe learnt the first principle of music from his own father and from his uncle Filippo Maria, pupil of Padre Martini in Bologna. This background was completed in Naples at the famous Conservatorio della Pietà detta de’ Turchini as a student of its director school Nicola Sala (1713-1801), a pupil of Leonardo Leo and renowned teacher with pupils like Giacomo Tritto and Gaspare Spontini. Back in Pistoia, Giuseppe was appointed organist at Madonna dell’Umiltà church where, in 1783, probably during his duty, the organbuilders Tronci built an organ inside a monumental six-seventeenth case. In 1785 he was admitted as first soprano in the Cathedral chapel and, at the same time, as a substitute of his father, who was the director, but suffered from physical impotence. With his father’s death, in 1800, he became the holder maestro di cappella until he passed away. He died in Pistoia August 6th, 1815. Composer and teacher Giuseppe Gherardeschi was a prolific composer, most of all in sacred genre. He also wrote for chamber music and theatre. Some of his works were performed not only in Pistoia, but also in Naples, Florence, Mantua and Pisa. Gherardeschi’s compositions moved in manuscripts, published by special studios. In XVIII century, as we know, this kind of publishing was very expensive and for this reason difficult to face. However he managed to publish the one and only among his work, i.e. Six Sonatas for harpsichord and pianoforte with accompaniment of obbligato violin printed in Florence at Ranieri del Vivo. Pietro Contrucci, the only biographer of Gherardeschi, praises his Mattutino di Natale, Messa di Requiem, Vespri, Te Deum, Via Crucis and Stabat Mater, that it does not fear the comparison with Stunz, Pergolesi and Rossini. He ends affirming that, if Gherardeschi was of another nation but Italian, his name would be glorious, rather than be reverential. He was also known and famous abroad Pistoia, for example by Carlo Gervasoni, his contemporary. In his Scuola della musica (Piacenza, 1800) he talks about him in this way: “Il genere di musica in cui egli più che ogn’altro si distingue è quello da chiesa e per gli strumenti a fiato. Penetrato dalla semplicità maestosa e sublime che una siffatta musica esige, pieno d’estro e di vivacità, bravo filosofo e ragionatore d’arte, dà ai suoi componimenti ecclesiastici una meravigliosa espressione. A queste conoscenze egli aggiunge eziandio un’abilità straordinaria nell’organo e nel piano-forte ed una maniera singolare nell’istruire in siffatti strumenti. Parla a di lui favore l’ottima riuscita de’ suoi allievi.” Organist The first professional assignment was that of organist at Madonna dell’Umiltà church in Pistoia and his huge organ production reveals his deep knowledge of Tronci’s and Agati’s organs. Here’s to Ferdinando Tagliavini’s opinion about him in the preface of the anthology Musiche Pistoiesi per organo of 1978, in which, for the first time published works by Gherardeschi appeared: “Grazie ad essa [cioè questa antologia] i nostri organi toscani dei due secoli scorsi potranno risuonare attraverso le note che per essi sono state concepite: i registri di ripieno e i flauti nelle garbate pagine d’una anonima raccolta organistico-liturgica, i registri “da concerto” in varie e colorite combinazioni (talora con il corredo di timpani, banda e usignoli) nelle vivaci compo­sizioni di Giuseppe Gherardeschi, di gusto ora raffinatamente galante, ora ispirato ad un ‘bel canto’ d’impronta melodrammatica”. Without Gherardeschi the use of the stops in the pistoiese organ would probably have remained an unsolved mystery. In fact he inserts in every single piece, even the briefer, precise indications of registration, sometimes with frequent changes, difficult to realize because of the huge number of stops to move and for the speed in changing them. Only in the case of ripieno we find the general indication pieno or a pieno, while in all the others he deeply lists the single stops that he desires. Probably not only those registrations testify the personal taste of the composer and the use of the time, but also a more huge Tuscan tradition back at least to 1664. In that year Willem Hermans built in Pistoia the organ of Sant’Ignazio and, through this, linked to previous traditions, for example the organs of Como (1650) and Sant’Apollinare in Rome (1666). There were similar to those of Gherardeschi, but that might reflect a more ancient Flamish praxis, imported in Italy by the same Hermans. In particular, we can see a large and intelligent use of registri da concerto, that were present in Tronci’s and Agati’s organs: the evocative reeds (trombe, clarone, voce umana, violoncello, mosetto), the brilliant cornetto and the poetic flauto in selva (bordone). Put beside or counterpointed to more classic stop of the essential Italian organ (principale, ripieno, flauto in ottava, voce languente or voce umana ad anima). Furthermore two special effects are used in this organ, i.e. timpano and usignoli. Here the musical forms used by Gherardeschi: a) Versets for Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei. Pieces for Offertorio, Elevazione, Postcommunio (Rondò), Finale (Sonata a guisa di banda militare che suona una marcia); b) Versets in eights tones for the psalms, destined to Magnificat del Vespro and divided in a pieno or concertali; c) Reflective pieces for the Eucharistic blessing, with two parts and refrain; d) Pastorale with bagpipes imitation and their repertoire. The influence of the opera is evident in almost all the organ production by Gherardeschi. In fact the Offertori are similar to Ouverture, the Elevazioni and Benedizioni to the Romanza, the Postcommunio to Cabaletta.(Umberto Pineschi)

Additional info about this CD
Recorded in Vignole di Quarrata on 9th September 2006, Gavinana on 23rd December 2006, Limite sull’Arno on 30th December 2006, Bargi on 18th July 2017, Italy | Sound engineer & Digital Editing: Paolo Fedi (tracks 1-16, 21-28), Daniele Boccaccio (tracks 17-20)
20 pages full colour booklet (Ita and Eng)
Musicology comment,
Artist biography
Full organ specs card included




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