Benvenuti in Elegia Classics
apertura_Ponchielli_Elecla_20082 19

Organ Works

apertura_Ponchielli_Elecla_20082 198
Elecla 20082
Format: 1 CD
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Paolo Bottini, organ


Amilcare Ponchielli (1834-1886)

About this album

In March 1855, Amilcare Ponchielli (Paderno Fasolaro, August 31, 1834 – Milan, January 16, 1886), became the official organist at the parish church of Sant’Imerio in Cremona. He had just finished his studies at the Royal Conservatoire in Milan when he was given this prestigious and profitable position, which he held until 1860. If he took up the office, it was possibly thanks to Ruggero Manna and don Cesare Palischi’s endorsements. Both of them knew and appreciated the young musician: the former, who was maestro di cappella at the Cremona Cathedral, had already chosen Ponchielli the year before as his substitute in conducting vocal and instrumental consorts at the local theatre; the latter, who had been the organist at the Cremona Cathedral from 1824 to 1849, was also a native of the Cremonese village Paderno Fasolaro. It was the instrument newly created by Angelo Bossi from Bergamo that the gifted musician had the chance to play in Sant’Imerio. Bossi’s organ wasn’t very big, but it was very rich in sounds: following the rules of the coeval organ-making, it was provided with organ stops imitating orchestras and bands instruments, such as the flute, the trumpet, the piccolo, the bassoon, the viola and the cello. Compositions recorded on this disk – whose scores, edited by Marco Ruggeri, had been published in 1999 by the Cremonese publisher “Turris” – belong precisely to this five-years period (1855-1860). Everybody may easily grasp the Opera-like character of these pieces, sounding as they were composition exercises inspired from operatic scenes. In those days, organists actually used to transcribe the most praised Opera arias in order to make them playable on their instruments during the Mass: it was absolute routine to take inspiration from Operas in composing original pieces for the pipe organ. The compositions proposed by this recording show how, despite his young age, Ponchielli masterfully handled a great variety of forms and owned a great armoury of very fresh ideas. Amongst these compositions stands out the “Symphony half for the organ and half for the piano”. The peculiar title hints to the habit, widespread during the 19th century, of writing compositions for the pipe organ without scores for the pedalboard, so that they were easily playable in a church as well as in a private living room. Paolo Bottini has completed two of the compositions of this recording which Ponchielli left unfinished (track 14: “Versetto n. 2 in primo tono”; track 20: “Andantino in sol”). To record this disk, Bottini has chosen the instrument made by the organ-maker Pacifico Inzoli from Crema for the Archpriest church of San Dalmazio Vescovo in Paderno Fasolaro: it was actually Ponchielli, teaming with the renowned performer Vincenzo Petrali from Crema, who inaugurated it on 25 September 1873. Inzoli’s organ set in Paderno Fasolaro has been newly and masterly restored in 2019 by the organ-makers “Fratelli Bonizzi” from Ombriano di Crema.

Additional info about this CD
Recorded on May and June 2019, Chiesa di San Dalmazio Vescovo, Paderno Ponchielli (CR), Italy,
Booklet 11 pages full colour booklet (Ita and Eng)
Musicology comment
Artist biography



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