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Rinaldo Alessandrini Organ Recital

A Tour of Holland, Italy, Spain, France, and Germany -- A Baroque Organ Horoscope for the New Century The 17th and 18th centuries were the most resplendent period for organ music in Europe, with each country and town known for its own specific type of organ. Just as customs and food differed greatly upon the crossing of national borders, each country featured distinctive faces and voices. Musicians breathed life into the organ music of their own country in a way that matched those unique characteristics. For example, free rein was given to finger movement in Italian organ music, allowing fantasies to gush forth. Meanwhile, German organ music was suffused with the solemnity of prayer, featuring the chorale. French composers of organ music, on the other hand, loved to use unusual sounds, reminiscent of the nasal pronunciation of the French language. Baroque organ music thus offers us many clues about how closely the music in each country was once linked to its traditions and people.

Rinaldo Alessandrini, from Italy, is energetically active today as an organist, harpsichordist, and conductor. His organ performances resemble the voice of a person singing, talking, and plying questions eloquently. Only someone as knowledgeable about various countries and eras as Alessandrini is could play these pieces so freely. In his performance at ATM, he will cross one border after another, showing the audience numerous musical jewels.

Join Alessandrini on a journey through the sparkling constellations of Baroque organ music!


Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)
Sweelinck's massive chords and memorable melodies leave an imprint on the mind that is not easily forgotten. He was a giant, towering alone above the mists of Amsterdam.


Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)
The organist of St. Peter's Church in Rome from 1608 until his death. It is said that some 60,000 people once assembled to hear this genius perform.

Allesandro (1660-1725) & Domenico (1685-1757) Scarlatti
Allesandro, Domenico's father, was a prominent figure on the Neapolitan opera scene. Domenico, Allesandro's sixth child (out of ten), is renowned for his 555 keyboard sonatas. By listening and comparing the compositions of father and son, one can catch a glimpse of the pedigree of Italian keyboard music.


Joan Cabanilles (1644-1712)
Cabanilles' discordant music flickers like a flame in the dark, seething with the mysterious pathos of the country of Cervantes and Goya.


Francois Couperin (1668-1733)
Although Couperin is well known for his gallant and stylish compositions for the harpsichord, one cannot judge his output by those works alone. His Mass for Organ can be compared to a shower of religious exultation at a large cathedral.


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Bach's chorales present us with the essence of his profound faith. Three of his organ chorales and his massive choral partita are all based on the same melody, and allow us to get closer to his profundity.

Essay by Yoshio Miyama, Professor of Aesthetics and Science of Arts, Keio University

Rinaldo Alessandrini Organ Recital

May 31 (Thu),2001, 6:30 p.m. (seating starts at 6:00 p.m.)
Entrance Hall, Art Tower Mito
A ¥3,500, B ¥2,500 (all seats reserved)

Program: Works by Sweelinck, Frescobaldi, Scarlatti, Cabanilles, Couperin and Johann Sebastian Bach

Organizers: Mito Arts Foundation, The Asahi Shimbun, Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Tokyo
Cooperation: Kabushikigaisha Tokyo Emplus, All Nippon Airways (ANA)

Profile of Rinaldo Alessandrini

Born in Rome in 1960, Alessandrini started piano lessons as a young lad, and was able to play Bach's Well-tempered Clavier at the age of seven. He also was a choir member when a youth. As a keyboard performer (organ, harpsichord, fortepiano), he studied for a short while under Ton Koopman, but largely gained his knowledge and mastery of Italian music performance techniques through independent study. His unrelenting curiosity led him to rediscover and revive many old pieces from the 16th to 18th centuries.

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