Claudio Merulo (Correggio, near Reggio Emilia, 8 April 1533 – Parma, 4 May 1604) enjoyed great renown in his time, particularly as an “extraordinarily melodious organist”. His wonderful skill in the practice of intavolare diminuito, where he was regarded as the “leader and master” (in the words of Girolamo Diruta), was expressed most vividly by his famous Toccate.
This recording presents, for the first time, the entire corpus of Merula’s Toccate: the 9 Toccate contained in the First Book of Toccate d’intavolatvra d’organo (Rome, Simone Verovio, 1598), recorded on Baldassarre Malamini’s “in cornu Evangelii” organ (1596) in the Basilica di San Petronio, Bologna; the 10 Toccate contained in the Second Book of Toccate d’intavolatura d’organo (Rome, Verovio, 1604); and the 7 manuscript Toccate drawn from the Nuova intavolatura d’organo tedesca (1637-40) preserved in the National University Library of Turin, Collection Giordano 2, where the Toccata del 3.io tono di Claudio Merulo basically corresponds to the Toccata del terzo tuono di Clavdio Mervlo that is included in Il Transilvano, by Dirvta (cc. 16v-19r).
These 7 Toccate have been recorded on Graziadio Antegnati’s organ (1565) in the Basilica Palatina di Santa Barbara, Mantua.