The art of transcription has been a part of the history of keyboard instruments since the Renaissance period, a time that saw the first publishing of sacred as well as secular vocal works. In the 19th century, however, the trend entered its golden age, thus satisfying the domestic music-making appetite of the bourgeoisie across Europe and reflecting technological advances in mechanisms such as the organ. This release is dedicated towards this king of instruments, whose expansion into concert-like proportions allowed the music of Handel to flourish in particular.
The recording is based on a selection of the Baroque composer's most famous works, arranged by some of the 19th century's greatest organ virtuosos. As well as W.T. Best, who gave about 100 recitals a year for 40 years and who published two great collections -- of which Handel's Choruses, selected and arranged for the Organ is included here -- there features transcriptions by the likes of George C. Martin (organist of St Paul's Cathedral), F.C. Woods, Théodore Dubois (organist at the Madeleine in Paris) and Alexandre Guilmant (organist of Saint-Trinité in paris and a noted concert performer). The two symphonies of Saul, Zadok the Priest and excerpts from the Messiah are just some of the works contained on this engaging release.
Performed by Massimo Gabba at the Mascioni organ of the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Alessandri (Italy), Romantic Organ Transcriptions details a fascinating area of 19th-century music-making and exposes the predilection for all things Baroque at that time. Gabba explores the full gamut of the instrument, revealing the immense variety of timbres and characteristic grandeur that the organ came to attain during the 1800s.