Padre Davide da Bergamo (1791-1863)
Music for the Liturgy
Padre Davide was undoubtedly the greatest and most celebrated Italian organist of the Risorgimento. He shared this place of honor only after mid-century with the rising star Vincenzo Petrali. But by then, the career of the Bergamascan monk was in decline, as was the musical world marked by opera of which he was the undisputed champion. An overview of Padre Davide’s organ music reveals a distinction between the repertoire destined for ordinary church functions and that used for more solemn liturgical occasions. In the first case, the pieces consist above all of brief versicles to be alternated with the singing of the ordinarium missae and are composed in a simple contrapuntal style. For the more solemn occasions of the liturgical calendar, Padre Davide would turn to two important resources: the orchestral effects of the “modern” organ (such as the monumental “Serassi” organ in the basilica of Piacenza, whose great variety and richness of orchestral effects were requested by the organist himself), and a musical language of operatic derivation.