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Organ Landscape - Pomerania
Martin Rost, historical organs
Recorded Various Locations, 1999-2003
MDG 319 1214-2 [68:19 + 47:37 + 59:12]


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Organ Landscape - Pomerania

Disc 1:
Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707)

Praeludium in A minor [6:39]
"Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder" [3:28]
Passacaglia in D minor [7:17]
Theophil Andreas VOLCKMAR (1686-1768)

Sonata in D minor [7:23]

Praeambulum [0:28]
"Allein nach Dir Herr Jesu Christe" [2:14]
Fantasia [1:46]
Ricercare [0:57]
Johann FISCHER (1646-1716)

Air in B flat major [1:16]
Menuet I/II in B flat major [2:55]
Johann Friedrich ALBERTI (1642-1710)

"Der du bist drei in Einigkeit" [1:37]
ANONYMOUS (Lüneburger Tabulatur KN 208; um 1650)

Toccata in C [1:54]
Hinrich Gustav SCHEFFEL (17th century)

Serraband mit 7 Variationen [1:57]
Christian RITTER (c.1645-c.1725)

Sonatina in D minor [4:01]
Johann Christoph SCHMÜGEL (1727-1798)

Affetuoso in F minor [4:09]
Praeludium in C major [1:40]
Christian Michael WOLFF (1709-1789)

"Herr, ich habe missgehandelt" [1:34]
Theophil Andreas VOLCKMAR (1686-1768)

Taniec Polsky Primo in C minor [1:11]
Taniec Polsky Secondo in C major [0:39]
Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)

"Aus der Tiefe rufe ich" [5:07]
Johann Wilhelm HERTEL (1727-1789)

Sonata in A minor, Op. 1, No. 6 [9:05]
Disc 2:
Heinrich SCHEIDEMANN (1595-1663)

Praeambulum in D minor [1:53]
Fuga in D minor [1:36]
Johann Martin RUBERT (1615-1680)

"Hast du denn Liebster dein Angesicht gäntzlich verborgen?" [1:09]
Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707)

"Herr Jesu Christ, ich weiss gar wohl" [3:11]
Christian Michael WOLFF (1709-1789)

"Christus, der uns selig macht" [1:06]
"Herzliebster Jesu" [1:32]
"Es ist das Heil uns kommen her" [1:09]
"Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn [1"01]
Anton Ludwig Ernst TRUTSCHEL (1787-1869)

Fantasie in G minor, Op. 20 [4:43]
Wilhelm RUDNICK (1850-1927)

Trio in D major [2:28]
Georg RIEMENSCHNEIDER (1848-1913)

Elegie, Op. 59a, No. 1 [3:49]
Max WAGENKNECHT (1857-1922)

Vor-oder Nachspiel in D major [1:12]
Andante in B flat major [1:15]
Vorspiel zu "Lobe den Herren" [0:59]
Moderato in G minor [1:13]
Fughette in C major [1:18]
Georg SCHEEL (1866-1945)

"O du Liebe meiner Liebe" [1:23]
"O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort" [1:26]
Karl KÜHN (1851-1930)

"Gib dich zufrieden und sei stille" [1:02]
Postludium in G major [1:57]
August Wilhelm BACH (1796-1869)

Praeludium in E minor [1:54]
Praeludium in G major [0:50]
Carl Adolf LORENZ (1837-1923)

"Nun freut euch, lieben Christen" [2:54]
August Wilhelm BACH (1796-1869)

Praeludium in C minor [2:23]
Carl KAROW (1790-1863)

"Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig" [1:47]
"Valet will ich dir geben" [1:20]
Disc 3:
Gustav FLÜGEL (1812-1900)

Praeludium & Fugue in C major, Op. 101, No. 1 [3:28]
Rudolf Ewald ZINGEL (1876-1944)

"Ave verum corpus" aus dem Chorwerk "Der wilde Jager" [3:25] *
Albert STEINICKE (1st half of 19th century)

"Es ist das Heil" [1:31]
"Herzliebster Jesu" [1:53]
"Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele" [1:47]
Gustav FLUGEL (1812-1900)

"Von Gott will ich nicht lassen" [2:08]
"Ach Gott und Herr" [1:29]
Hermann BENDIX (1859-1935)

Postludium in G major [3:09]
Ulrich HILDEBRANDT (1870-1940)

"Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele" [3:05]
Carl LOEWE (1796-1869)

"Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag" [0:56]
"Machs mit mir, Gott" [2:25]
"Lobe den Herren" [1:09]
Ernst August GROSSMANN (1831-1889)

Praeludium in D major [1:15]
Praeludium in G major [1:08]
Praeludium in E minor [1:52]
Friedrich Wilhelm SERING (1822-1901)

"Nun danket alle Gott" [1:44]
Otto VOIGT (2nd half of 19th century)

"Befiehl du deine Wege" [2:37]
Eberhard WENZEL (1896-1982)

"Allein Gott in der Hoh sei Ehr" [3:41]
August WAGNER (1816-1894)

Vorspiel in E minor [1:19]
Vorspiel in A minor [1:34]
Nachspiel in F major [1:35]
Erich SÜMNICH (1882-post-1934)

"Herr, nun selbst den Wagen halt" [1:53]
Ernst FLÜGEL (1844-1912)

"Jerusalem, du hochgebaute Stadt" [1:20]
Ulrich HILDEBRANDT (1870-1940)

"O du Liebe meiner Liebe" [3:24]
Otto WANGEMANN (1848-1914)

Fantasie über "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" [6:33]
Gustav HECHT (1851-1932)

"Ein feste Burg ist unserGott" [59:12]
Martin Rost, historical organs
Daniel Arnold, cello *
Recorded Various Locations, 1999-2003
MDG 319 1214-2 [68:19 + 47:37 + 59:12]

This is a feast for organ enthusiasts: 36 composers, 73 pieces of music and 21 historical organs. The purpose of the set is to document 350 years of Pomeranian organ history. Where is Pomerania? It is split by the Oder River into two regions. Eastern Pomerania is in Poland, Western Pomerania in Germany, and both regions are at the southern coast of the Baltic Sea. Pomerania's organ history is a rich one as detailed in the exceptional liner notes, and the fabulous sounds emanating from the 21 organs are proof of a legacy second to none.

The composers featured in the set either lived in Pomerania or had influence on its organ culture through teacher-student relationships or the circulation of their music. Most of the composers are virtual unknowns, but don't let that fact deter you from acquiring the set. With very little exception, all the music is either highly rewarding or outstanding. For the most part, all the works are 'free' compositions of the preludium type or musical settings of religious text.

These are a few highlights from each of the three discs:

Disc 1 - Rost begins the festivities with a nice mix of Buxtehude pieces that immediately establishes his exceptional use of registrations and affinity for historically informed performance practices. In each of the three works, Rost is fully competitive with the best organists in this repertoire. He displays an unerring sense of rhythmic flow, and his interpretation of the Passacaglia in D minor reveals the work's determined inevitability.

Theophil Andreas Volckmar wrote his Church Sonatas of 1717 for the King of Saxony, and the Sonata in D minor is a powerful and severe seven-minute work that shows extensive use of the pedal for which Volckmar was greatly regarded. The next four pieces are of unknown authorship but are quite fetching and well represent organ music composed in the early 1600s; the Fantasia has a wonderful rhythm that Rost clearly delights in playing. Christian Ritter was active in both Hamburg and Stockholm, and his Sonatina in D minor is an excellent example of the alternation of free and contrapuntal sections prevalent in the Northern German praeludium.

Disc 2 - The disc starts with two pieces from the pen of Heinrich Scheidemann, one of the greatest composers of the 17th century. Scheidemann had a huge reputation in the culturally advanced Hamburg area and wrote extensively for the organ. His blend of severity and sweetness is quite compelling, and Rost conveys both features excellently in the two works. The Praeambulum in D minor is especially rewarding with its stern and declarations tinged with regret.

The chorale prelude by Johann Martin Rubert, a pupil of Scheidemann's, may be short but has an irresistible Elizabethan dance rhythm with the demure first theme being repeated in a more demonstrative registration which is regal in Rost's performance. Dietrich Buxtehude returns from Disc 1 in a chorale prelude that is one of his most inspired and poignant. Christian Michael Wolff also makes a return engagement with four additional chorale preludes. "Christus, der uns selig macht" is the pick of the litter with its strong pleading of faith set within a gorgeous melody line, and Rost's registrations are perfect for the occasion.

Wilhelm Rudnick was a native of Pomerania and the music director in Liegnitz starting in 1891. His Trio in D major is a very comforting piece with its smooth lines and leisurely tempo. Georg Riemenschneider's Elegie is a fine example of the symphonic potential of the organ as it was used in the late 1800s with its crescendo pedal, Venetian swell, and increased foundation stops.

The five short pieces of the pedagogue Max Wagenknecht who taught at the Franzburg Teachers' College reveal a composer of unusual melodic gifts and a natural talent for keyboard writing. Whether composing in a solemn or heroic fashion, each of the works is totally absorbing. His Nachspiel is a lovely piece, while the heroic "Lobe den Herren" and Fughette soar with their confident spirituality. Without doubt, his is the one name to remember among the many obscure composers represented on the set. The works of two other instructors from Pomerania are also impressive. Georg Scheel's "O du Liebe meiner Liebe" is a stunning example of the use of counterpoint to convey resolution and enlightenment, and Karl Kuhn's "Gib dich zufrieden und sei stille" is the most anguished piece in the set.

Disc 3 - Gustav Flugel was a fine composer for the organ who attained the position of church music director and organist at the Stettin Castle Church in 1859. His Praeludium and Fuge in C major is a most optimistic and congenial piece with an appealing sweep. The chorale prelude "Von Gott will ich nicht lassen" begins with sad refrains from the lower voices but soon becomes uplifting through the upper voices taking over the melody line. "Ach Gott und Herr" confidently reaches for the sky, although there is no departure from this route as the piece doesn't progress. Gustav's son Ernst is represented by "Jerusalem, du hochgebaute Stadt", and I must say that Ernst displays similar skills in offering fetching melodies encased within a relaxed emotional cocoon.

There has been a cello lurking in the corner that comes to center stage through the chorale prelude of Rudolf Ewald Zingel who was very successful in the early decades of the 20th century and made his home in Greifswald. The cello takes the melody line, and Zingel's music is thoroughly haunting in its late-romantic presentation. Cellist Daniel Arnold has a captivating tone and works splendidly with Rost.

Carl Loewe, famous for his vocal ballades, was also a fine composer for the organ. He is represented on the set by a poignant chorale prelude sandwiched between two powerful ones. Those who only know Loewe through his vocal works might be surprised by the severity of "Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag", a piece built on twisting rhythmic patterns. Also, each of the three chorale preludes is a model of contrapuntal architecture. Friedrich Wilhelm Sering was another composer who taught at teachers' colleges in Pomerania, and his chorale prelude "Nun dankett alle Gott" is a fine example of using ascending lines to convey the attainment of salvation.

In conclusion, the Pomerania organ set represents a specialty item that no organ enthusiast can afford to be without. The instruments are a joy to listen to, and Martin Rost is a superb guide through Pomerania's organ history. Each of the recording venues offers rich and clear sound, although a few of them do project a rather heavy bass. The booklet notes give us 13 pages of highly detailed information and insight concerning the Pomerania organ landscape and the featured composers. Further, the registrations and history of each of the 21 organs is fully documented. The cost of this set may be substantial, but it is well worth the outlay.

Don Satz

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