Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Orgue historique de Hayange
W. A. MOZART Fantasia in D minor, K397.
Felix MENDELSSOHN Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 37.
Robert SCHUMANN Four Esquisses for Pedal Piano, Op. 58.
Franz LISZT Prelude and Fugue on BACH, BWV260.
Philippe Lefebvre (organ).
Played on the historic organ at St Martin de Hayange Church, Hayange on August 26th-28th, 1997. [DDD]
K617 K617082 [58'39]
Error processing SSI file


Crotchet  AmazonUK   AmazonUS

The booklet notes to this release pay sentimental tribute to the art of organ building and restoration. The story of the historic Opus 100 Dalstein-Haerpfer organ in Hayange (Moselle)is affectionately related from its origins in 1895 through its steady decline to its present-day restoration. As heard on this well-recorded disc, it is evidently an instrument capable of much power and also much beauty.

The accompanying essay (in an uncredited and clumsy translation) is entitled 'The Organ between Baroque and Romanticism', reflecting this disc's journey from Mozart through to the extravagant gestures of Liszt. The organ was not the compositional instrument of choice for any of these four composers and, indeed, The Mozart Fantasia and the Schumann Esquisses were not even intended for it.

Philippe Lefebvre is, on this showing, an accomplished musician with a keen sense of style. This is heard straight away in the Mozart, a delightful performance: listen to the pulsating left hand accompaniment with syncopated right hand against it: Lefevbre achieves just the right ambience.

K617's superb recording really begins to register with Mendelssohn's Three Preludes and Fugues, Op. 37 (composed between 1833 and 1837, and dedicated to Thomas Attwood, then organist of St Paul's, London). Mendelssohn, indeed, composed a surprising corpus of music for the organ (try the two-disc set on Hyperion CDA66491/2 for further exploration). The gravitas of No. 1 in C and No. 3 in D minor is played off by No. 2 in G, with its rocking Prelude [QUOTE: Track 3, Opening]. The fugue remains, however, imposingly serious.

Schumann's pleasant Esquisses, Op. 58 work well, with the capacity for effective contrast well utilised. The C major, Op. 58 No. 2 shoes definite leanings towards the celebrational [QUOTE: Track 6, Opening]. The final Esquisse, in D minor is, notwithstanding its use of the minor, a playful way to end the set.

At over thirteen minutes, Liszt's Prelude and Fugue on BACH S260, of 1855/6, makes for an appropriate climax to the programme. Evidently inspired by the concept of paying homage to The Master, Liszt's piece is virtuoso in intent, not only in terms of technical difficulty but also in sheer range of expressivity. Lefebvre clearly has the measure of this great work (QUOTE Opening). He is, indeed, no mean instrumentalist (he was organist in Ozawa's recording of Saint-Saens' Third Symphony for EMI with the Paris National Orchestra).

Wholeheartedly recommended.

Colin Clarke


Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.