GIOVANNI MORANDI (1777-1856)
Sonatas for Organ four hands
The eight pieces recorded here well exemplify Morandi’s organ production. The Introduzione, Tema, e Variazioni is a reworking of the Sonata III from the II Raccolta di Sonate, published in 1817 by Ricordi. In each variation, Morandi imitates an instrument of the orchestra, in homage to a popular fashion in organ music at the time (though little employed by Morandi himself). In the Introduzione, Tema, Variazioni, e Finale, unlike the previous composition, the composer gives no indications for registration to be used in the single variations, leaving the choice up to the performers. The Sonata, the Sinfonia con l’imitazione della banda militare, the Sinfonia marziale and the Gran Sonata follow the formal design mentioned above, with or without the slow introduction. The Pastorale is comprised of two juxtaposing sections: the first is cantabile and almost lulling, while the second is fast and more rhythmic. Judging from the rubrics placed by Morandi in similar compositions, we might identify the first section with the arrival of the Magi and the shepherds at the manger, while the second expresses their joy in the form of a dance. The Gran Marcia Militare eseguita in Vienna nel giorno natalizio di Francesco Secondo Imperatore is the version for four hands of a march which Morandi also adapted for two hands. It is an example of numerous similar marches reworked for the practice and pleasure of the nuns, but which the composer never published. Among the works cited, the two series of variations, the Sonata, the Sinfonia marziale and the Gran Marcia were expressly written for S. Carlo. As for the other pieces, which apparently lack a precise destination, it is also possible the Morandi planned them for publication, though it is highly unlikely that he would have performed them together with a nun organist (the close physical contact would have been absolutely unacceptable). The performance here is based on the critical edition (Giovanni Morandi, Opere per organo a quattro mani, ed. Gabriele Moroni, Bologna, UtOrpheus, 2005), with the exception of two works (Gran Marcia Militare and Gran Sonata), which are based upon the autograph manuscript.