, October 2004
"This CD serves to demonstrate on the one hand the static nature of the development of Italian organ building in the 18th century, and on the other the descent of Italian organ music in the 19th century into the operatic style dominant in Italian music in general at the time. It is extraordinary to consider that the pair of organs recorded here, built in 1757 and 1785 follow basically the formula applied 250 years earlier and indeed up to 100 years and more later. Each has a single keyboard with a ripieno, (mixtures divided into their component ranks), a Voce Umana, narrow scale flutes and in this instance, as the organs are essentially in the Venetian character, also Cornetti (narrow scaled) and Tromboncini. The organ in cornu Evangelii was built for the church by Gaetano Callido in 1785, and the organ in cornu Epistolae by his student Pietro Nacchini (actually Petar Nakic) in 1757. The former was moved to this church in 1981, until this time the cornu Evangelii had only a non-speaking organ façade. These are interesting organs then, housed in a church further noted for its many works of art, but unfortunately possessing a rather meagre acoustic.
Sadly the music is not so interesting. The Cherubini sonata proves the most well-wrought work. The sorry decline of Italian organ music into the banality of sub-Donizetti is rather too clearly illustrated. One Sonata of Giuseppi Busi would have been interesting, four is at least three too many, (by this time the horses are really whirling around the carousel ...). Luigi Celeghin and Bianka Pezic, the latter an ex-student of the former at the St Cecilia Conservatory in Rome, play well, with admirable co-ordination between the two instruments, though occasionally their touch proves rather unsubtle, heavy and/or abrupt for the acoustic, and for the organs to sound optimally.
However, despite this CDs lack of great music, it is difficult to be too critical. This is, after all, the music for these organs. And these are interesting organs which deserve to be recorded. So buy this, especially considering the price. Naxos’s concept is such that the disc has a rightful place in their extensive and very well planned ‘Organ Encyclopedia’. You might not want to listen to it too often, but it is a valuable reference piece."