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Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Works for Organ (Vol.2)
Fantasy and Fugue on J.S.Bach’s Chorale Ad nos ad salutarem. S259/R380 [29.57]
Trauerode (Les morts: Oraison), S268/2/R390/2 (1860) [9.40]
Symphonic Poem Orpheus (transcribed Schaab-Gottschalg). S98/R415 (1860) [11.43]
Concert piece in A for organ in free style (transcribed Gottschalg). [4.22]
Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen. Zagen. Organ prelude after J.S.Bach’s Cantata (1859) S179/R23 (transcribed Winterberger) [7.30]
Andreas Rothkopf (organ).
Rec: June 2000, Sauer organ, Evangelische Stadtkirche, Bad Homburg, Germany
NAXOS 8.555079
[63.12]


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Liszt, for long an international prodigy, has at least two distinct styles of composition. In later life his piano pieces became subtle and reflective, as well as distinctly ‘modern’ compared with the showpieces of his earlier career as an international virtuoso. The organ works are similarly revelatory and, though published mainly in the composer’s mid-to-late career, contain passages that could easily place them harmonically in the 20th century. None sounds particularly ‘churchy’ in the conventional sense, and Naxos is to be congratulated for devoting two discs to these highly-charged performances on the magnificent Sauer organ.

The monumental Fantasy and Fugue on a Bach Chorale plunges immediately into an exciting, chromatic style that reveals the composer’s unconventional freedom. The opening pedal section leads to brilliant passages on manuals and a wide choice of registration. To some extent this is the Liszt of Les Preludes, though in a more improvisatory and adventurous guise. After it the Trauerode, originally an orchestral work, comes as a contrast a quiet, impressionistic reverie using the reed stops to magical effect against a sustained pedal.

This prevailingly placid mood is maintained almost throughout the remaining pieces. Orpheus, transcribed for organ from Liszt’s Symphonic Poem of the same name, is largely for manuals, with a central episode of rising excitement and a quiet close in which the Sauer organ shows one of its many fine qualities to perfection. The Concert Piece will be familiar to pianists as one of Liszt’s Consolations and works extremely well as a short voluntary.

Andreas Rothkopf has a deep and mature sympathy with this music, and a musicianly approach to its elusive qualities: an altogether delightful disc. The insert booklet is detailed and informative,


Roy Brewer




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