Introducing Paolo Costa and his Exquisite Italian-Built Organ
We are thrilled to introduce Paolo Costa, a talented musician and skilled instrument builder based in Vigonza, near Padova, Italy. Paolo’s remarkable journey from singing in early music ensembles to becoming a renowned builder of harpsichords and portative organs has captivated us. In this post, we delve into Paolo’s expertise, the story behind his current project, and the unique aspects of the organ he is constructing for Consortium Carissimi. Join us as we explore the music that will soon grace the ears of the world.
Paolo Costa’s Background:
Over 40 years ago, Paolo enchanted audiences with his soulful male alto (counter-tenor) voice, performing in concerts with various early music ensembles across Europe. His musical journey led him to join Consortium Carissimi at its inception, where he contributed to numerous concerts and recordings. However, alongside his singing career, Paolo nurtured a side hobby in crafting harpsichords. His meticulous attention to detail is evident in every instrument he creates.
The Passion for Instrument Building:
With the unfortunate decline in concert activity due to the pandemic, Paolo dedicated himself to his passion for instrument building allowing him to explore the construction of harpsichords and portative organs in greater depth. His craftsmanship and expertise have shone through in the photos of the organ he is currently constructing for Consortium Carissimi. The inclusion of an Italian-made portative organ adds a refreshing touch to the traditionally Northern European repertoire, making it an ideal choice for performing Italian sacred and secular music.
The Journey of the Current Project:
The idea of a Costa organ coming to the United States was first discussed many years ago during a concert in Rovigo, Italy. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that a commitment was made to bring this remarkable instrument to life. Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic caused substantial delays with several commissioned instruments – however, we are delighted to share that our organ is now on its way to Minnesota and nearing completion.
The Unique Aspects of the Organ:
The Renaissance Regal, a small table organ, holds a special place in Paolo Costa’s project. This instrument produces its distinct sound through brass reeds housed in resonators. The length of the vibrating portion of each reed determines its pitch, regulated by a wire passing through the socket. The resonators in the regal serve as attachments, maintaining the reed’s position without interfering with its function.
Apart from the traditional stops like Bordone 8′, Flauto camino 4′, Ottava 2′, and Quinta 2, 2/3′ tr, Paolo has also agreed to incorporate the Regale 8′ (with Metal Resonators tin-lead 25% and a Wooden Block). The versatility of this organ allows for easy adjustment to different temperaments, ranging from the Renaissance to the Early Baroque. Tuning can be modified from the standard 440 herz to 415, 392, or even up to 466.
Enchanting the World with Music:
The addition of the regal in Paolo Costa’s organ opens up a world of possibilities in bringing music to our ears. Claudio Monteverdi, one of the most influential composers of the time, specifically called for the regal in many of his compositions, including his opera “Orfeo.” We anticipate using these reeds in upcoming performances of Concerted Madrigals by Northern Italian Composers, who were greatly inspired by Monteverdi. Composers such as Biagio Marini, Domenico Belli, Mario Pesenti, and Alessandro Grandi.
Become a part of history in the making:
Consortium Carissimi is offering you a rare opportunity to help sponsor our commissioned Italian hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind, portative organ. With construction to be completed by the end of June next year, we will be bringing this unique instrument to a new permanent home in Saint Paul in late 2024 – and you can help us by donating now to Consortium Carissimi. Donors giving $100 or more during this organ campaign will receive a free ticket to our next performance with our thanks. This organ is quite literally history in the making and your support will be forever connected with it. Thank you.