We are pleased to present volume 2 of the world premiere recording of the complete organ works of Merulo. These works represent the complete range of musical development of compositions for keyboard instruments in the 16th century. Since their quality had no equal at that time, Merulo’s opus is of immense importance for the history of music. Tapping the full potential of the then usual forms of expression and structure, Merulo – a contemporary of Gabrieli and his colleague as ”maestro di cappella” at the Marcus Cathedral in Venice –was an important pathfinder in a highly creative era. And he opened up a new one: the Baroque period.
The use of two instruments with a very different underlying sound concept made it possible to offer a larger variety of timbres and thus to give the listeners a richer palette of tone colors to illustrate the organs of the Italian Renaissance. On CD 1, Stefano Molardi plays on a organ built in 1533 (Merulo’s year of birth), located at the church of S.S. Corpo di Cristo in Valvasone (province of Pordenone, Friaul), that is not only in good condition but also under a mouments protection order issued by the Ministry of Culture and the patronage of the Italian president. It is one of the three oldest and best-preserved instruments still extant in Europe. This organ had met the Venetian taste in music and aesthetics of the Renaissance offering bright and shimmering as well as deep and warm timbres. The organ of CD 2 was built in 1588 by the famous organ builder Costanzo Antegnati. It was expanded probably in the mid 18th century by an unidentified craftsman and restored by Marco Fratti between 1994 and 1996 - an instrument of ethereal and crystalline beauty, of sweet and gentle timbres.