reviews
 
A GERMAN CONCERT PROGRAM WITH AN ITALIAN NOTE

The 18th Organ Spring in Böblingen: The organist Giorgio Parolini from Milan played on Sunday in St. Mary´s

By Jan Renz (Böblinger Kreiszeitung, May 5th, 2013)

Böblingen. Milan is the second largest city in Italy with a population of 1.3 million. Many venerable churches are here, Giorgio Parolini was active in one of them: the Basilica of St. Eufemia. Parolini was titular organist there, an honorary title awarded to him for his virtuoso abilities on the organ. This musician, born 1971, was guest artist in Böblingen on Sunday and presented the third concert of this year’s Organ Spring at St. Mary’s. The Italian brought along a German program, but Italy was never-the-less present, for several of the German composers made reference to Italian music.
The first part of the concert was dedicated to Johann Sebastian Bach and his students. Bach had numerous capacities: Organ and Keyboard virtuoso, Conductor, Music Director, specialist in instrument building. But he was also an important and gifted teacher. He taught his sons but also many other promising musicians. Two of his students were heard in St. Mary’s, among them the master organist Johann Ludwig Krebs, whom Bach especially highly regarded. The organist from Milan unfolded this interesting program with great tranquillity and circumspection. He served the works and does not place special emphasis on the ego. At the beginning this circumspection was evident, but quickly became more and more sure of himself. The evening began with Johann Gottfried Walther. Walther and Bach met in Weimar and became friends. The venerable teacher appears in Walther’s great Music Lexicon, a first sign of Bach´s fame. Parolini opened his concert with a transcription for organ by Walther of a concerto by Vivaldi, thus also from Italy. Parolini identified with the playfulness of the music. Italy was also a reference point for Johann Sebastian Bach. About 1713/14 he discovered the newest form of the Italian Concerto. Bach´s Toccata in F-Major BWV 540 is modelled after the solo concertos of Vivaldi. It is a broad work which flows into a grand fugue. This music stood in the centre of the concert. The organist had to deal with immense masses of sound which he structured clearly. Beside this music all else grows pale. Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713-1780) was one of Bach´s favourite students and one of his most gifted. He enjoyed an excellent reputation as an organist. In his Fugue on the notes "B-A-C-H" Krebs defers to his teacher. The four notes impregnate the entire piece. One hears the proximity to the teacher but everything is discernibly leaner. Krebs is very close to the Classical Period here. It is music of great elegance which the young Italian organist sensed and presented.

Everything orbits around Bach
After the intermission Bach was still the main theme: Max Reger, whose “Benedictus” meditatively resounded, learned much from Bach. One could hear it in his music. Mendelssohn initiated the Bach-Renaissance in the 19th Century with a performance of the St. Matthew Passion in 1829. Parolini applied himself to the third Organ Sonata in A-Major by Felix Mendelssohn. This romantic composer created six such sonatas: they were published in 1845 simultaneously in several major music centers: Leipzig, London, Paris and in Parolini´s native Milan. This clearly shows that Mendelssohn was a European happening. In the third Organ Sonata in brilliant A-Major Mendelssohn falls back on baroque forms. The influence of Bach can be sensed. The pedal presents the Chorale "Aus tiefer Not" as a counterpoint to a dissonant Theme (which is taken from the "Lobgesang-Symphony"). In these harmonic spheres Parolini apparently feels quite at home. He let the organ of St. Mary´s shine in her whole glory and without haste. This Mendelssohn was impressive. High quality music right up to the end: the Toccata in b-minor by Eugène Gigout (1844-1925) is an effective work which exudes color, a major work by this French master. At the end of the well-attended concert, there was great applause for the Italian organist.

BACH SENDS HIS GREETINGS
Giorgio Parolini on the Thielemann-Organ
By Horst Groener

Gotha. The organ in the Trinity Church in Graefenhain is over 280 years old. The court organ builder Johann Christoph Thielemann built it in the years 1728 to 1731. It stands today as an important witness from the time of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Giorgio Parolini, organist from Villasanta by Milan, concentrated almost without exception on this musical era of the Bach family and vicinity on his program for the most recent organ concert in Graefenhain. Thereby it certainly would have been enticing to experience more of the Italian representatives in contrast to their German contemporaries. The only such example, the Canzona in g-minor and “All’ Elevazione” by the Italian Domenico Zipoli (1688-1726), were so elegant and subtle that they whetted the appetite for more such colourful pieces. However, as a small further tribute to Italy, there was the transcription of a concerto by Antonio Vivaldi, which Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748) had arranged for organ. In the three movements, Allegro, Adagio and Allegro, the organist impressively demonstrated the varied possibilities of the Thielemann-organ.
The Sunday afternoon had begun with the “Ciaccona in B-flat Major” by Johann Bernhard Bach (1676-1749), in the course of the hour several works of Johann Sebastian Bach followed. Parolini performed the Chorale Preludes “Dies sind die heil’gen zehn Gebote” BWV 678, “O Mensch, bewein’ dein Sünde groß” BWV 622, as well as the great, abruptly ending final Fugue from “The Art of the Fugue” along with the Chorale “Vor deinen Thron tret’ ich hiermit” BWV 668, which appeared as an addendum to that cycle.
The organ recital concluded with Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713-1780). From his “Clavierübungen” Parolini played Praeambulum, Choral and Choral alio modo “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan”, then a “Trio in C Major” exceedingly nicely to be listened to and a Fugue on “B-A-C- H”.
For the long, hearty applause Giorgio Parolini graciously played the Choral “Allein Gott in der Höh’ sei Ehr” by Johann Michael Bach (1648-1694), as a last reverence to the Bach family and the Thielemann organ.

A GOOD CONCERT BY GIORGIO PAROLINI

The already well known cycle “Organo in Concerto” at the Alfred Kraus Auditorium, on Sunday included, with the cooperation of Sociedad Filarmonica de las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a recital by Giorgio Parolini, excellent Italian organist that brought one of the largest public attendance. He started with the most famous among the Preludes by Buxtehude, sumptuous fantasy developing variations on the theme at the pedal and that shows the best of the counterpoint. After, one of the most masterly “Leipzig Chorales” (BWV 654) by Bach, with a character both serious and melancholic. Always by Bach the “Concerto in A minor” (BWV 593) which is a literal transcription of one of the most famous Concerts for Strings by Vivaldi. Parolini has given a brilliant and vital version of the two Allegri, with a very good reading of the original and mysterious central Adagio. A nice and clever “Fugue” for four voices by Schumann, written on the four notes of the name BACH, changed the character of the program without avoiding the devices of inversion and retrogradation of the gender. But it is another sound with power and magnificence which brings to the triumph of the theme before ending with a very sober and quiet Coda. A “Sonata” by Bellini, obviously with opera character in its two themes, exclaiming the first and melodic the second, has given a frivolous accent at the last part of the program, with two pieces by Bossi (a soft “Ave Maria” and a baroque and very elaborated “Redemption”) and an interesting “Partita” by Rogg on the Choral “Nun freut euch”: the organ of the XX century explored in seven variations from delicate dissonance to open atonality, with studies on the rhythm and change of stops rich of effect. This satisfying cycle will continue with the young Hispanic master Juan de la Rubia.
G. Garcia-Alcade

From: La Provincia/Diario de las Palmas, April 13, 2010
COLMAR / At the Collégiale Saint-Martin

The refinement of the organ and the trumpet

With a program essentially based on Italian composers the organist Giorgio Parolini and the trumpeter Luciano Marconcini have triumphed this Tuesday at the Collégiale Saint-Martin, in front of a public exceptionally numerous… and for a good reason.
The concerts of the organ festival of Colmar are magic. Organized by the Amis de l’Orgue de la Collégiale Saint-Martin they propose every year delicious trips in the art of the classical music through always refined cooperation among organ and other instruments cleverly chosen. This week is the trumpet that played with the tentacles of the variations of the organ in front of a public so important that the programs of the concert were not sufficient. No surprise for that since the show deserved a large public. From the first notes of the “Sonata per tromba e organo in Fa Maggiore” by Pietro Baldassare, the trumpet has purely amplified the aerial sound of the choir organ in sunny and triumphant allegro.
An effective dialogue
The grave that followed, more calm but even more magic, has subsequently elaborated an effective dialogue between the two instruments, leaving at each one the necessary space. After the third and last movement of the piece, a new allegro has renewed the triumphant character of the beginnings, the trumpeter has left alone the organist for the “Toccata per l’elevazione” extract from “Fiori Musicali” by Girolamo Frescobaldi. The trumpet of Luciano Marconcini presented itself again in the next piece the sonata “La Bianchina” by Maurizio Cazzati.
And how good was to listen to this dialogue with the wonderful acoustic of the Collégiale which amplifies, smoothes, petrifies each note with sensual pleasure. Being the remaining part of the concert played at the Main Organ in the back of the church, many people followed the suggestion given at the beginning by the organizers to leave the first ranks and reach the middle of the church where the Main Organ gives its best sound. The public has so been able to listen to the majestic and rigorous style of Dietrich Buxtehude with his “Praeludium in G minor”.
The remaining program has been dedicated to dialogues between trumpet and organ, with the exception of pieces played on by the organ and among them the “Concerto in A minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach. The only accident of the evening was the arrival during the concert of four people loudly discussing with no respect. It has been necessary the intervention of a person from the public to have them shut-up, leaving to the real public the pleasure to appreciate, in a perfect silence, the end of the concert.

From DNA/Colmar, 12th August 2010

A WONDERFUL VIRTUOSITY

Kronach: A sunny greeting from the “Bella Italia” has warmed Kronach Chistuskirke, when this week-end the second concert of the V International Organ Festival took place. Marius Popp, kantor and organizer of the Festival, succeeded to invite for this concert the famous international organist Giorgio Parolini. Parolini, born in 1971, has brought the public through a three centuries tour of organ music, whose barycentre was made by Italian composers. Giorgio Parolini, organist of the famous Basilica of S. Eufemia in Milan, has however started the concert with a homage to Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy of whom this year is the 200 anniversary of his birth. Already with the Ostinato in C minor the excellent organist – who among other prizes boasts the Premier Prix de Virtuosité of the Superior Conservatory in Geneva – has caught the attention with his vigorous and at the same time rich of sensibility way of playing. With Mendelssohn’s last Sonata, Op. 65 n. 6 (on Vater Unser) Parolini has demonstrated in an impressive way the richness of faceting of this piece technically very difficult. Mendelssohn asks for the full skill of the organist on the whole extension of pedal and manual. Parolini has perfectly controlled both the composition and the instrument, playing with heart, in an intuitive way, following a heavenly inspiration. The moving atmosphere has been followed by a series of pieces of Italian organ music, pieces very different among them. Parolini has opened this part of the concert with the “Sonata sui flauti” and “Toccata per il Deo Gratias” by Giambattista Martini (1706-1784). By Giuseppe Gherardeschi (1759-1815) we have listed to the fanciful “Rondò in Sol Maggiore” in which the composer’s love for opera and theatre can be recognized. “Solo di oboe” and “Invocazione” both by the romantic composer Filippo Capocci (1840-1911) are referred to the French and German organistic schools. Very evident the influence of the Gregorian Chant in the piece of the contemporary composer Eugenio Maria Fagiani (born in 1972), Fagiani has dedicated to Giorgio Parolini “Veni Creator Spiritus” written in 2009. In his piece Fagiani has orientated himself towards the very famous composer and organist Naji Hakim (1955). The composition is free from the rhythm point of view and rich of effect, and its elements are elaborated in a pressing way. The motives are characteristics, very quick and changing, which move with big dissonances on the Cantus Firmus presented to the pedal. Continuous changes in time and motives – that partially remind to dance and even to Pop Music – bring to the last sunny Tutti which ends this homage to the Holy Spirit. Fallen into oblivion since several years, today Marco Enrico Bossi’s compositions (1861-1925) are living a new re-birth. Parolini has presented “Rédemption” Op. 104/5 and “Allegretto” Op. 92/3. Afterwards the master of the virtuous music has shown his high skill at the Steinmeyer organ of Chirstuskirke playing the “Studio Sinfonico” Op. 78. The kantor Marius Popp explains why the previous organists avoided this complicated piece. “The big challenge is the use of the pedal on 2 and a half octaves and by the rapid alternation between pedal and manual. At the end hands and feet go down and up with high speed on the whole extension of the keyboard and this requires high skill. Organists extraordinary prepared as Giorgio Parolini is, today dare newly with these difficult pieces, and Parolini is not only a deep expert of Italian organ music but also a virtuous of the organ” Parolini plays as soloist in famous cathedral in Europe and United States, among them Notre Dame in Paris and St. Patrick in New York. “It’s quite possible to reach a large number of people in a big cathedral, but a concert in a small church as Kronach one is for me attractive as many. The public comes to listen to the music”, Parolini says. The public thanked him for his concert with enthusiastic applauses. And he granted a small “Humoresque” as an encore.

Sabine Raithel

“Ressort NP Feuilleton” – October 20th 2009

STANDING OVATION IN THE CHURCH

ORGAN FESTIVAL: Giorgio Parolini organist from Milan guest invited by Marius Popp at Christuskirke in Kronach. It was the second of three concerts.

The V International Organ Festival of Kronach has continued on Sunday with an impressive concert by Giorgio Parolini. For the concert – entitled “Three centuries of organ music” - the organist of the famous Basilica of S. Eufemia in Milan has presented pieces extremely interesting and difficult, the focus of the program was constituted by pieces of Italian composers. As a homage to the 200 anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn- Bartholdy’s birth we have listened to the Sixth and last Sonata, known also as “Vater Unser”. The artistic director of the Festival – that this year offers three concerts and it’s under the protection of Regional President Oswald Marr, is again the kantor Marius Popp.

A HIGHLY VALUED ARTIST

As repeatedly he succeeded, for the concert he has invited famous artists. So it was with Giorgio Parolini, one among the most famous young Italian organists. The musician, born in 1971, after organ studies in Italy and at the Superior Conservatory in Geneva has been awarded in several international competitions, In addition to an extended concert activity which bring him regularly playing as soloist in famous European and American cathedrals – such as Notre Dame in Paris and St. Patrick in New York – presently Parolini is titular organist of the Basilica of S. Eufemia in Milan. The kantor is very happy for having succeeded to bring to Kronach a so valued artist. He deeply knows Italian organ music and consequently its “particular language”. In the Sixth Sonata of Felix Mendelssohn- Bartholdy Giorgio Parolini has put under the light the different aspects of this piece, with sonority from a delicate “piano” up to a solemn “fortissimo” in the most virtuous point of the piece. In “Solo di oboe” – as the title says – we listened to a pleasant melody on a reed stop, while in “Invocazione” the melody is given to flute stops and accompanied by a sonority like the strings. Both pieces are by Filippo Capocci. In “Veni Creator Spiritus” by the contemporary composer Eugenio Maria Fagiani, dedicated to Parolini, a music very elaborated and rich of effects is presented. In the piece very quick and dissonant motives are proposed above the melody of the Hymn very clearly presented to the pedal; as homage to the Holy Spirit’s strength the composition ends with a sparkling “Tutti” of the organ. With registration always various and clever – with virtuosity – Giorgio Parolini has also presented the other pieces. The public, enthusiast by the excellent skill of the exceptional organist, react with a roaring applause and a standing ovation.

Heike Schülein

“Fränkischer Tag” October 20th 2009

EARLY BAROQUE AND BRAVERIES

Standing Ovation for the Organist from Milan at the Parish Church of St. Peter and Paul Neuhausen in the Fields

Again and again music director Markus Grohmann succeeds in winning famous organists for the Organ recitals in Neuhausen. After the summer break one of the most famous Italian organists of the younger generation Giorgio Parolini introduced himself to the parish of Saint Peter and Paul. The musician, born in 1971, was successful in various international competitions after his harpsichord and organ studies in Italy and at the Genevan conservatory. Beside heavy concert schedule Parolini works currently as Titular organist at the basilica Saint Eufemia in Milan. He brought an interesting program to Neuhausen. It stretched from the early-baroque sounds Girolamo Frescobaldi’s over the Italian late romanticism up to the harmonic boldness of Max Reger. Variety was assured. Beside the immense sounds of the big Walcker organ restored in 2005, the organ positive of Hieronymus Spiegel with its more delicate registers brought additional colour into the musical kaleidoscope. Parolini first played from the chancel on this jewel of an instrument.  The different sequences of Frescobaldis "Canzona Quarta" - a playful miniature brilliant in tone - were underlined by differentiated registrations. One heard quite different sounds then from the organ loft. Josef Gabriel Rheinberger’s deep-romantically coloured "Sonata a minor No. 4 op. 98" unfolded with full sound and thick voicings. After a heavy introduction fine sounds of the reed stops beguiled in the Intermezzo, and in the Fuga cromatica Rheinberger showed how skilfully one can contrapuntally process a subject, which mostly subsists of semitones. Two Chorale Preludes and Prelude and Fugue in a-minor of Johannes Brahms and compositions of his compatriot Marco Enrico Bossi were accomplished equally as well by Parolini. One enjoyed the soothing quiet tones of "Chant du Soir" and "Ave Maria", interrupted the by festive-striking "Alleluja final", for which the organist did not shy to use an occasionally perhaps too vehement organ registration. In his Chorale Prelude on  "Rendez à Dieu" Bernard W. Sanders,  church musician active in Tuttlingen, prefers harmonic clarity and rather simple lines. In contrast to this Max Reger's organ compositions are quite a different caliber. Both in "Toccata op. 59 No. 5" and in the subsequent Fugue from the same Opus Reger tests the borders of tonality and while holding up an almost Bach-like severity of the texture. The organ unfolds all her splendour, becomes the symphonic instrument. Giorgio Parolini pulled out all the stops of his virtuoso skill and creative power again. When the final tone in immense Tutti had died away in the “Cathedral in the Fields”, the eager concert-goers celebrated him with standing ovations.

Rainer Kellmayer

From “Esslinger Zeitung”, 21/10/2008

VIRTUOSITY AND POWERFUL PLAYING.

Summer organ recital: Giorgio Parolini from Milan plays in St. Paul´s, Darmstadt.  

DARMSTADT. The program which the Italian organist Giorgio Parolini presented in the organ summer in St. Paul´s in Darmstadt led from the baroque up to the modern age. Right from the start with Buxtehude’s d-Moll-Passacaglia Parolini, who works in Milan as an organist and lecturer, made clear that he loves the strong, luminous register colours. Also, he succeeded in illustrating the strict structure of the work clearly. This also held true for the performance of two short Chorale-Preludes by Buxtehude. Parolini proceeded with 2 of Bach´s most popular organ works: the Chorale-Prelude on “Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme” (BWV 645) and Prelude and Fugue in D-Major (BVW 532). In these he summoned all of his technique and combined virtuosity with powerful playing. Unfortunately the keen harmonic progressions in the Adagio at the end of the Prelude were somewhat obscured by the sonic rush. César Franck´s Chorale Nr. 2 in b-minor came off in Parolini´s interpretation almost like a symphonic tone poem thanks to the characteristic illumination in which he bathed the various visages of the chorale which Franck himself invented. The organist played the vision “Joie et clarté des Corps Glorieux“ (“Joy and brilliance of the transfigured bodies”) from the cycle  “Les Corps Glorieux” by Messiaen. This cycle is dedicated to the theme of the resurrection. The pictorial sections were strongly contrasted. Subsequently Parolini drew attention to the American composer Bernard Wayne Sanders who lives and works as a church musician in Tuttlingen since 1994. His “Aria” and a Chorale-Prelude on “Rendez à Dieu“ were heard – catchy pieces in simple fashion, off the track of modernisms in melody and harmony. With Reger´s Toccata in d minor and Fugue in D major from opus 59 Parolini made a striking final point. He succeeded in bringing the improvisatory Toccata under a big curve of tension and in building up the Fugue from a tender beginning to the hymnal end purposefully and impressively. He responded to the persistent applause of the listeners with a playful encore.

Klaus Trapp

From "Darmstaedter Echo", August the 29th, 2008

“Sacred Concert in Lent”

Giorgio Parolini convinces in St. Gallus with a sense of colour

Tuttlingen. (stm) – The pleasure that Bernard Sanders had in introducing the organist Giorgio Parolini from Milan for the second Sacred Concert in Lent, this time in St. Gallus, was very apparent. And the international concert organist Parolini lived up to the expectations. Parolini began with North German Baroque, with Buxtehude´s Passacaglia in d-minor whose texture was served as a powerful appetizer but always clear. In the following Chorale Preludes of Buxtehude and Bach Parolini demonstrated his sense of colour, which one could almost continually enjoy. Consistently delineating the Chorales, he enticed ever new, interesting colours and combinations out of the Rieger organ in St. Gallus. The disposition of the organ is relentless but Parolini showed also her softer, darker aspects. The first climax: Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in b-minor. The Prelude with its dramatic syncopations was presented powerfully and appropriately compact, without excursions and ritardandi – Parolini hardly used these means and apparently favours obvious brusque endings. The opening and middle section of the Fugue gained in transparency through less volume and closed convincingly.  

Unusual colour combinations

The second part of the concert led us to more modern regions. Jeanne Demessieux´s “Attende Domine” is indebted to the French style with expressive harmonies from the  impressionistic school. The garb of the piece was enhanced through Parolini´s mix of unusual colour combinations. Similarly, in the Chorale Meditation on “Herzliebster Jesu” by Bernard Sanders: at first a mysterious line sank in a breathless subbass before the message of the passion came to our ears in a convincing modern setting with extremes and estrangement. Perhaps in the sense of meditation, the colour contrasts hadn´t needed to be so extreme since the piece itself has enough expressive content. The program was rounded off with Johannes Brahms. The Chorale “O Traurigkeit, O Herzeleid” was introduced in a nasal tone which broke the softer texture of the program. In the Fugue the melody was laid out in the lower range in augmentation with corresponding colours. A convincing musical late afternoon in Lent, which a false Spring prevented from being as well attended as it had deserved.

 

CONCERT AT THE BASILICA

On February 11th the Choir remembered the Pope with music by Mendelssohn, Reger and Brahms.
“Città di Desio”, homage in notes for Pope Pius XI.

Saturday February 11th was the 77th anniversary of the Patti Lateranensi (February 11th 1929), of which Pope Ratti was the real author. For the occasion the study-day “Pius XI and his time” ended in the evening, at the Basilica, with the Recital “Kirchenmusik” (Church Music), proposed for the occasion by Maestro Enrico Balestreri, in which the protagonists were the Choir “Città di Desio” and the organist Maestro Giorgio Parolini. In the program pieces across the Classic and Romantic periods, by F. Mendelssohn, M. Reger and J. Brahms. During the presentation Maestro Balestreri dwelled upon the three composers “who teached composing a repertory suitable to set the words of the Psalm to music”. “Austere music, music of high relief” was Maestro Adolfo d’Aniello’s comment, visibly fascinated by the interpretations. Marvellous was the organist Giorgio Parolini, who accepted the difficult challenge of the scores (Balestreri emphasized that in some of the pages played, the area of the black of the notes on the staff exceeds the void of the white), succeding in expressing the assurance of his exceptional technique. Particularly in M. Reger’s Fantasy and Fugue on “Halleluja! Gott zu loben” Op.52, the organist undertook on the interpretation of the music of the German Maestro with amazing play of timbres and sounds. So we had the impression of the music coming from the universe, from the sky and pouring over the audience. Just so. As for him, Maestro Enrico Balestreri, with the choir he conducted, who brings the name of our city, has reached sublime levels: in spite of the difficulty of the comprehension of the language (all the pieces were in German) he knew how to charm, because a moment of rapture was enough to lose the thread. At the end of the concert a vigorous applause sealed the success which repeated the one of Haendel’s “Messiah” some weeks ago. The performance of last Saturday came ahead of the début of the choir “Città di Desio” at Monza Cathedral, always under Maestro Enrico Balestreri’s direction, scheduled on March 31st. In program an engaging masterpiece: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Requiem”.

U. S.

From “Il Cittadino”
 

CHEERFUL AND ENCOURAGING

Final concert of the series “Sommerkonzerte” and concert in the “Bachtage” with Giorgio Parolini at the Erlöserkirche

Last year Giorgio Parolini was forced to cancel at the last moment his concert with the International Organ Summer (Sommerkonzerte) because of family problems. Finally now the Milanese organist is guest in Potsdam. With his concert at the Erlöserkirche, full house, he closed the Organ Summer “a gusto italiano”, offering at the same time an anticipation for the “Bachtage”. Not only the Fantasia by Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713 – 1780), Johann Sebastian Bach’s pupil, but also some mediterranean souvenirs convey to us the soul full of melodies of the Italians. But at the beginning the clear and well defined borders of the North German Organ School are perceived: the melody of Dietrich Buxtehude’s (1637-1707) Praeludium in E minor whispers quietly and subdued, followed by the Chorale Prelude on “Christ unser Herr, zum Jordan kam”, played resolutely. These contrasts are characteristic of the Organ Summer, and we find them too in two Bach’s pieces we listened to different times during the series. Very cheerful and dancing was the Chorale Prelude on “Schmucke dich, o liebe Seele” BWV 654. The organists Martin Stephan and Kilian Nauhaus played this piece with the same idea of timbre, using flute-stops. Contrary to his Viennese teacher Peter Planyavsky, who during his concert played Bach’s Toccata, Adagio and Fugue quickly and merrily, Giorgio Parolini starts this work in a more restrained way, without be lacking in virtuosity and elegance in the Pedal-solo – always “a gusto italiano”. The maximum of the Italian “cliché” was reached with Krebs’ Fantasia. Then we have a sharp clear separation with “Toccata capricciosa” by Lionel Rogg (born in 1936 and teacher of the organist), characterized by syncopated rhytms and by passages reminiscent of Messiaen. Certainly an original piece, as the two pieces from “Parafrasi Gregoriane” by Eugenio Maria Fagiani (born in 1972), with an archaic plan enriched by “clusters” and syncopations. In this case the composer refused decidely to follow the italian cliché which ascribes to Italy only opera and belcanto. But no fear! “Thème et Variations” Op. 115 by Marco Enrico Bossi (1861-1925) brings us again the classical picture of the Italian music. After an angry beginning we can leave ourselves to the melodies, which are not at all disturbed by the vehemence of the chords in the principal voices. Sounds full of colours everywhere and Giorgio Parolini utilizes all the stops of the organ. With a mild encore he thanks for the vigorous applause.
The 14th edition of the “Sommerkonzerte” in Potsdam by now is part of the past. The twelve concerts, carried out some at the Erlöserkirche and some at the Friedenskirche, gave us the possibility to hear many pieces unknown in this country. Obviously Bach was the favourite, followed by Messiaen and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Some works were played twice or three times, giving the possibility to do some interesting comparisons. Anyhow the absolute “highlight” was the inauguration of the Woehl organ at the Friedenskirche. We spent some really exciting weeks.

Peter Buske

From “Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten”, 17/09/2004

SHINES AT THE ORGAN

Giorgio Parolini guest at the “Organ Recital Series” at the Cathedral (Dom-Orgelzyklus)

MINDEN – Giorgio Parolini’s organ recital was characterized by a very unusual sequence of pieces which didn’t place the musical peak at the end – as expected – because the Italian soloist played Franz Liszt’s masterpiece, “Prelude and Fugue on B.A.C.H.”, between an important piece by César Franck and a very effective piece, but not really first-rate, by a lesser-known composer.
The excellent technical ability of the Italian musician justifies this particular choice. Every work he played took a unique musical form. Even if it would be possible to discuss about the fact that a different sequence of pieces could be artistically more suggestive.
For instance Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Toccata, Adagio and Fugue” BWV 564: Giorgio Parolini begins with a generous gesture, in the Adagio he finds a quiet phrasing which underlines the melody, and ends with the Fugue in an explosive way. A well-knit and admissible interpretation, but one could hope for a more transparent execution too. On the other end the continuous tension expressed by the artist made everything involving.
This was the characteristic of the other pieces too: Johann Pachelbel’s “Ciaccona” was lovable and full of colours, thanks to the Kuhn organ; César Franck’s “Prélude, Fugue et Variation” was exactely played with the lightness typical of the French music, rendering it exciting.
Giorgio Parolini crowned his performance with Franz Liszt’s “Prelude and Fugue on B.A.C.H.” where, thanks to his virtuosity, he was able to control the overwhelming forces of the music. Than he ends – soothing the restless waters – first with an “Andantino” by Dénis Bédard, a recent piece whose romantic theme could let one think to another epoch, then with two works by the Italian Marco Enrico Bossi. Pleasant music but not overwhelming, although Parolini committed himself completely with fervour.
At the end the audience received, as an encore, David Johnson’s “Trumpet Tune”.

Udo Stephan Köhne

From “Mindener Tageblatt”, 11/10/2003

Enormous sounds of organ.

Particularly happy are the moments when a musical work keeps up with its interpretation. Such a symbiosis could be enjoyed on Wednesday at the sixth concert of the series "Sommerorgelkonzerte" at Pauluskirche in Darmstadt. The Italian organist Giorgio Parolini (born in 1971) has spread like luxuriantly bloomed mediterranean landscapes the "Thème et Variations" Op.115 by his countryman Marco Enrico Bossi, born in 1861 on the Lake of Garda. Parolini layed an arch on around 400 years of organ music. He played Buxtehude’s Ciaccona in e minor with great precision, with the theme in the bass clearly standing out, and the fluid figurations with registrations rich in contrast. After a severe beginning the piece revealed itself with chromatic lines suddenly coming out, a typical characteristic of the progressive compositional style of Bach’s master. We heard Bach’s idyllic Chorale – Prelude "An Wasserflussen Babylon" (BWV 653b) and the Prelude and Fugue in E Flat Major (BWV 552). Parolini presented both pieces as a majestic colossus, he emphasized the huge harmonic tension of the dissonances. The sounds-falls ran at breakneck speed and now and then they poured with great vehemence. Moreover, in harmony with the optimistic and engaging tenor, suited Alexandre Pierre François Boëly’s "Fantasie et Fugue", of great sensation and plainly impressive. In this piece Parolini suggested an orchestral fullness and he enhanced clearly the theme B-A-C-H, which pays homage to the Thomaskantor. As moments of rest, the concert, rich in tension, concludes in some pieces of the Romantic period by Schumann, Brahms and César Franck – all amiable and with coloured registrations.

Albrecht Schmidt

From "Darmstaedter Echo", August the 9th, 2002

Giorgio Parolini gives the best.

The Milanese organist played the organ of the Cathedral.

Pieces known and less known were in the program last Sunday at the Cathedral for the second appointment of the Series of Organ Concerts of the Easter Period. Giorgio Parolini, this is the guest’s name, began with the difficult Prelude and Fugue in C minor (BWV 546) by Johann Sebastian Bach, showing from the beginning his competence in organ matters. The Italian organist has spread, in the huge but perfectly right environment, a wonderful sound, full of transparence, both during the execution of the Prelude, with its extraordinaries timbres, and during the filigreed Fugue, whose theme, gently fluent, flowed from his hands. Before this execution, Bach’s elaboration of the Choral "These are the Ten Holy Commandments" was kept apart. Gifted with all the symbolical elements, the player delivered to us an interpretation which left, for its clearness, nothing more to wish for, as once did Moses’ Tables of the Law, engraved on stone. After Bach, Giorgio Parolini, born in 1971 and since 1999 titular organist of the Basilica of St. Euphemia in Milan, proposed unknown music to the wide public. Music from his country, like Ottorino Respighi’s Bach – Huldigung (a Prelude on a Choral of the Thomaskantor) or Marco Enrico Bossi’s high – sounding Alleluja, with its characteristic theme of four notes. Giorgio Parolini completed his mastery of the instrument in Switzerland. At the Conservatory of Music of Geneva, in fact, Lionel Rogg was one of his authoritative teachers. And it’s the wintry image of the town which inspired Rogg for his "Evocation": a fresco of notes, both quiet at the beginning and at the end, with a rich central part in liveliness. This piece gave rise to the growing series of feelings of the interpreter, who reached the full maturity during the execution of the serene Organ Sonata by Julius Reubke. It is based upon the 94th Psalm: dramatic verses of a revengeful God, but at the same time generous and loving, portrayed by the interpreter with faithful plasticity. For doing this it was necessary a perfect instrumental technique, gifted with all the pianistic means. Giorgio Parolini gave the best.

Christoph Schulte im Walde

From "Westfälische Nachrichten", May the 1st, 2001

Extracts from critics appeared after concerts in Bergamo and Udine.
 

"….Giorgio Parolini’s ease and security were very noticeable, he started very well with Frescobaldi (above all the Canzona IV)….Him, Giorgio Parolini, has convinced the attentive and applauding public….".

B. Sburlino

From "Il Gazzettino", May the 4th, 1999

"The Organ recitals on the theme ‹‹The Italian School›› has been closed last Friday with a concert of the young and musical organist Giorgio Parolini….In the first part of the concert, played on the organ by Zanin in the ancient church, G. Parolini has brilliantly played with high sense of the form and fine care of execution’s praxis a series of pieces of XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries….

In the second part he has put through his paces the instrument built by Zanin in 1989 for the new church. He has played with much elegance Bach’s Fugue on a theme by Corelli and the Concert in A minor after Vivaldi…..Warm ovations have been tributed to the skilful organist, who played as an encore the triumphant "Entrée Pontificale" by M.E. Bossi.

Renato della Torre

From "Messaggero Veneto", May the 3rd 1999

"Between Bach’s organ works (the artistic direction asked for all the Toccatas and Fugues, one every concert) the one played by Parolini (BWV 566) seemed to us the most weighty, especially for the registrations: stout sonorities without to compromise the intelligibility of the articulation, sternness and a great solemnity easily conjugated each other. The brilliant virtuosity of the young musician has been confirmed without doubts in the B.A.C.H. Prelude and Fugue by Liszt, played with attention of tempos and registrations, and above all showed with great virtuosistic solutions, without to fall in a noisy spectacularity…"

B. Zappa

From "L’Eco di Bergamo", September the 2nd, 1998