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Francesco Tristano's On Early Music – Renaissance & Baroque-Inspired New Works – on Sony Classical

Francesco Tristano – On Early Music

The Acclaimed Pianist and Composer Returns to His First Love – Early Music

Two Singles Out Now

Aria for RS and On Bull Galliard in D minor (Original Works by Tristano)

New Album Out February 11, 2022 on Sony Classical Listen and Preorder Here

Sony Classical announces Luxembourg classical and contemporary pianist and composer Francesco Tristano’s upcoming studio album On Early Music. The record is a return to what Tristano calls his first love – early music. “I grew up listening to a lot of early music,” he says. “So it’s always been with me.”

A meditative, peaceful listen full of grace and beauty, ‘Aria for RS’ is one of five original compositions that Tristano wrote for the On Early Music, his third release with Sony Classical which will be out February 11, 2022. Interspersed with these are works by some of early music’s greatest English composers and organists – Orlando Gibbons, John Bull, and Peter Philips – and one of Tristano’s greatest inspirations, Italian composer Girolamo Frescobaldi. Yet On Early Music is not merely a fitting homage to this repertoire; the works are given a fresh, contemporary twist thanks to Tristano’s production skills, studio mastery, and keen eye for detail.

“I wanted works by English composers, some of whom I’ve played for a long time and love, but I also wanted to continue exploring the repertoire of Frescobaldi,” he says. “He really changed the way composers wrote for keyboards.” Inspired by these greats, and their enduring works, the music he wrote for On Early Music bursts with vitality and spark. Tristano’s ‘On Bull Galliard in D’ is a faux-baroque, rhythmic joy, all bright and jaunty. ‘Toccata’ is similarly uplifting, a dizzying dancelike whirlwind full of intricate arpeggios and an insatiable rhythm. “Early music is intensely rhythmical, and I just love the innate groove it has,” he says. “I wanted to reflect that.”

All the works featured are tonally and melodically complimentary, and while some have been faithfully reproduced, others have been re-worked and reinterpreted. “I wanted to bring something new to them,” he says. “Something original.” That led him to works that reflected another of the album’s main themes, and something he wanted to focus on and bring to the fore – the gentle majesty of sunrise.

“The magic hour is very short, but the energy unleashed is unique,” he says. “This moment is often paralleled in scores of early music – at a very specific moment toward the end of a given piece, it seems as if the score is wrapped up in a harmonic sequence that determines the end of a complex development, and transitions into a soothing ending. It is both the end, and a new beginning.”

Such ideas resonate that much harder after the last few years; beauty, rejuvenation, energy. In focusing on early music that conveyed these elements, Tristano wanted to return to “simple things and basic values” that bring joy and pleasure. Playing this repertoire brought him solace, and a deep sense of harmony, something he felt compelled to share.

“Early music has a reparative power, just like an early sunrise,” he says, “and these works give me an uplifting feeling. There’s something really primitive about them, but something rejuvenating too.” For Tristano, this repertoire remains as joyful and inspiring as when it was composed over 500 years ago, and is thoroughly deserving of a contemporary audience.


1. Toccata – Francesco Tristano

2. On John Bull's Galliard In D – Francesco Tristano

3. Fantasy In D – Peter Philips

4. Serpentina – Francesco Tristano

5. Let ons met herten reijne – John Bull

6. On Girolamo Frescobaldi's Quattro correnti – Francesco Tristano

7. Aria La folia – Girolamo Frescobaldi

8. Ritornello – Francesco Tristano

9. On Cristobal de Morales Circumdederunt – Francesco Tristano

10. Pavan – Orlando Gibbons

11. Air & Alman – Orlando Gibbons

12. Italian Ground – Orlando Gibbons

13. Ground – Orlando Gibbons

14. Ciacona seconda – Francesco Tristano

15. Cento partite sopra passacaglie – Giacomo Frescobaldi

16. Aria for RS – Francesco Tristano


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