Francisco Correa de Arauxo. Facultad Orgánica (1626).
May 1997. Professor Lorenzo Ghielmi has invited me to teach a course on Correa’s Facultad orgánica to his students at the Civica Scuola di Musica in Milan. Availing of my journey from Spain, Maestro Andrea Marcon has also asked me to give a concert on the Nacchini organ in the church of Santa Maria dei Battuti, in Treviso. Jean- Claude Zehnder was there, travelling with his students from the Schola Cantorum of Basel. Following the concert, some bottles of wine were emptied at the home of Georgio Gregolin, geometra. A night train would then carry me to Milan. At nine in the morning I was sitting at the Antegnati organ in the church of San Maurizio, Monastero Maggiore. Correa begins to sound.
After two days’ work with the students in Milan, I still have to give another concert in the church of San Alessandro. A beautiful instrument, but I fear that I didn’t play well that afternoon. The phone had awakened me far too early that morning. Jean-Claude is back in Basel. Arriving home, he finds letter from the lutenist Andreas Schlegel. He has written to Zehnder from Menziken despite the thirteen years or so since they last met. He tells of his trip down to Santiago de Compostela, and how there, in an antiquarian bookshop on Rua Nova he leafed through a book which, perhaps, could be of interest to Zehnder. An exemplar of Correa’s Facultad orgánica of 1626?. Jean-Claude has no doutbs. I must get hold of this original. I ask myself if the book remains there, as Schlegel had seen it days earlier. I worry about how much they might be asking for it. I know perfectly of what value it is to me. It is Sunday. The bookshop is closed. Kerll, Pachelbel and Bach sound anxious.
Before leaving Milan, the first thing is a call to the bookshop in Santiago: they say that the book is still on their shelves, that they are going to send it by post, that the packet will arrive in two days… I am directly back to my courses in Granada. Isabel is at home ready to receive it. She rings me and tears open the wrapping… Still in disbelief, I will be home tomorrow.
This is the story of a journey, the journey of a Swiss lutenist who visited a bookshop in Santiago de Compostela and who wrote a letter to a friend to tell him of it. This is, above all, the testimony of the extreme generosity of Jean-Claude Zehnder, to whom this recording is dedicated.
That exemplar of the Facultad orgánica came into my hands thanks to extremely exceptional circumstances. I consider that fact an extraordinary reward for so much work done on the work of Francisco Correa over so many years and a stimulus for the project which is now starting. However, the possession of the book doesn’t grant me anything special, except an additional responsibility for a music that fascinates me.
I have been handed the baton from the ancient owners of the book that have also studied and played the music of Correa. Nevertheless, we must take into account that the age of sound recording has brought about some drastic changes to our conception of the art of music. Only since sound records were invented
has been possible to listen to a piece of music repeatedly, as often as one wants, and played identically each time. As a consequence of this, a new necessity has arisen, where the performer wishes to fix definitive interpretations of each musical work. By recording Correa’s work, I am also joining in this game, but while doing this I acknowledge that there is nothing final in the result.
I firmly believe in historically documented interpretation, in starting from the deep knowledge of the sources, in founding the interpretation on analysis, in exploring the possibilities of the instrument and adjusting the way of performing to the quest for a certain sound. However, I also, above all, believe in the soul of this music. Therefore, the interpretation of each piece is a result of my own intuition, reflection and discovery. My way of conceiving this music has progressed during the last thirty years, and I hope that it will continue to evolve.