Giacomo Puccini, certainly known for his operatic compositions rather than his work at the organ, was nevertheless the winner of the first prize for organ at the Instituto Pacini in 1875. The two organs heard here were known to Puccini and played by him. He signed them both. In Lucca, at the church of San Pietro Somaldi, the organ was built by Cacaldi in 1687 and then enlarged in 1854 and 1877 and finally by Tronci in 1903. The organ in San Lorenzo in Farneta, a province of Lucca, was built by Odoardo Landucci & Figli in 1850. In the style of the day, Puccini was known to have improvised on theatrical tunes and embellished them to the delight of his listeners in church before catching himself up to return to more pious and serious sounds. Both of these organ had bass drums and other percussions. Church must have been a very different experience than today, or was it?
Liuwe Tamminga, a specialist in the repertoire of Italian organs, leads a fascinating tour through the works of Puccini, with a Pot-pourri from Madama Butterfly, various shorter movements, the Te Deum from Tosca and Scossa Elettrica, composed on the first centenary of the discovery of the electric battery. While the organs are showing their age, it is a grand ride!
Madama Butterfly, Pot-pourri; Adagetto, S. 51; Fuga in G, S. 43; Adagio, S. 31; Fuga reale in c, S. 37; Minuetto I, S. 61; Crisantemi, S. 65; Piccolo Valzer, S. 66; Solfeggio; Te Deum from Tosca; O mio babbino caro from Gianni Schicchi; Scossa Elettrica-Marcia Brillante, S. 72; Fuga in g, S. 53; Corazzata Sicilia-Marcia d’Ordinanza; Salve Regina, S. 39; Inno a Roma, S. 90