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Suspended between the Renaissance and Baroque eras, Merulo’s Toccate are unique compositions which occupy a singular role in the landscape of keyboard music. They are not prototypes, in that they are artistically too mature: rather, they prelude the way of expressing affetti of the “seconda prattica” on the keyboard, an art of which Frescobaldi would later be the uncontested master.
The fascination of these daring compositions lies in the coexistence of new and old elements, Renaissance polyphony and Baroque gestural impulses. Claudio Merulo, who lived between Parma and Venice and was active not only as a great organ virtuoso, but also as an editor and alchemist, finds in his music the magic formula of balance between extreme elements which preserve his legacy as a mature and exceptional artist.
– Fabio Bonizzoni