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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


Adolph Friedrich HESSE (1808-1863)
Fantasie op 35
Concert Fantasie op 36
Fantasie op 87
Gaetano PIAZZA (1750-?)

Sonata for two organs
Giovanni Bernardo LUCCHINETTI (C18)

Concerto for two organs
Josef BLANCO (C18)

Concerto
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Fantasie KV594
Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

Adagio WoO 33/1
Georg Friedrich HANDEL (1685-1759)

Hallelujah from the Messiah
Karel Golebiowski and Zygmunt Strzep organs
Recorded St Bernard Church, Hamburg May 1988
PAVANE ADW 7419 [60.06]
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Here is a thoroughly enjoyable recital. Organists Karol Golebiowski and Zygmunt Strzep evoke the practice of playing two organs alternately, a performance method already well entrenched in the fifteenth century (an organ "duello" between Claudio Merulo and none other than Andrea Gabrieli was one of the more combustible examples in history). The Polish organists also play real Concertante music – which means playing the two organs together, notably in Lucchinetti’s Concerto. Threaded through their recital are the Fantasias of Adolph Friedrich Hesse, a nineteenth century Franco-Belgian upholder of Bachian values. His pieces both embody and elucidate the continuing tradition of two organ playing and also reflect upon the eighteenth century models which surround his work on this disc, a juxtaposition properly reflective of both influence and inheritance. This, in addition, succeeds in showing Hesse’s commendable use of these models in his own imaginatively serious, unponderous music.

Lucchinetti’s Concerto goes with dash and brio and is spirited and energetic. Maybe the Spirituoso is somewhat too sober for its full character to emerge – I doubt that clarity of articulation would have suffered at a slightly quicker tempo. But the Allegro is splendidly assertive. There’s very little biographical information about Josef Blanco, an eighteenth century Spanish composer; he may have been organist (and harpist!) at Cuena Cathedral. His Concerto, an allegro lasting six minutes, is sprightly and brilliant with Golebiowski on the organ of St Bernard’s Church and Strzep playing a Beckerath Portable. Especially enjoyable is the treble registration employed here – just right. They are just as sensitive and understanding in Mozart’s Fantasie and in Beethoven’s Adagio they convey the momentum necessary to arch the melody and in so doing employ some excellent subterranean registrations which slowly ascend to the treble. There is a rather restrained Hallelujah – I assume that this is the John Marsh arrangement though the notes aren’t explicit.

The recording is fine, the notes encouragingly honest but most praise must go the performers; I enjoyed their recital enormously.

Jonathan Woolf



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