Notes and Editorial Reviews
Bernardo Pasquini spent most of his life in Italy, working first as an organist for the Arciconfraternita della Morte in Tuscany, following in the footsteps of Girolamo Frescobaldi and Luzzasco Luzzaschi. He later moved to Rome to work as an organist at Santa Maria in Vallicella and worked for Pope Alexander VII at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, before he was hired by Prince Giovanni Battista Borghese. Word of Pasquini’s exceptional talent as an organist and harpsichordist travelled beyond the borders of his home country, and commissions flooded in from wealthy patrons including the cardinals Flavio Chigi, Benedetto Pamphilj and Pietro Ottoboni, Queen Christina of Sweden, Prince Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and the Duke of Modena Francesco II d’Este. The compositions in Landsberg 215 were likely used for educational purposes. Performed in order, the first album contains pieces in an imitative contrapuntal style, followed by a study of different genres. The final album features traditional 17th-century instrumental music. Their titles indicate the recipients of the pieces, for example Allemanda per il Danese (for the Dane), or the piece’s destination Toccata per Spagna (for Spain). Sometimes we can more accurately identify the receiver of the piece: Toccata con lo scherzo del cucco was gifted to John Clerk, the baronet of Penicuik, a Scottish nobleman who met the composer during a trip to Rome and who was also tutored by Angelo Corelli. Interestingly, Pasquini has added a personalized touch to Clerk’s piece: ‘Penicuik’ in ancient Celtic means ‘cuckoo hill’, and the main theme of the piece is a descending minor third, much like the call of the cuckoo. In this performance Roberto Lorregian recreates the sound of late-17th-century Italy, playing a copy of a harpsichord by Rome-based maker Giovanni Battista Giusti and the 1713 G. Bonatti organ at Rezzato in northern Italy.