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Mallorca Edition Historic Organs
Martin Schmeding (organ)
rec. 2011, Sant Abdreu, Santanyi (Soler, Scarlatti, Lidón); Sant Francese de Paula, Campos (Heredia); Sant Pere, Sencelles (Bruna).
Reviewed in SACD stereo
CYBELE RECORDS 001404 [6 SACDs: 458:29]

This truly remarkable collection is one of the most ‘must have’ organ release I have come across in 2017. Anyone buying recordings of historical organs in the past must know at least a little about the risks of ending up with the badly tuned and noisy wheezings of instruments past their prime and much in need of loving restoration but considered important as they were once played on by some notable and long-dead composer.

Nothing could be further from the truth with these spectacular recordings, so first a little about the instruments used. The first three discs are played on a remarkable organ built in 1762 by Jordi Bosch. This has been restored and lovingly maintained by Gerhard Grenzing, whose efforts truly deserve the high billing and interview time he receives in this collection. Martin Schmeding demonstrates aspects of this instrument in SACD 6, so it’s not quite all talking there, but just hearing these performances and you know what a fabulously wide-ranging set of timbres are in prospect, from throaty roars and rich trumpets to the delicate birdsong that opens Scarlatti’s Sonata K. 33 in D. It is not for nothing that this organ is considered one of the best in Spain, and is in the top 10 of instruments in all of Europe. Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia’s music is recorded on the 1823 Gabriel Thomàs organ in Campos, which is a less impressive prospect but entirely appropriate for his mixture of styles. Pablo Bruna’s expanded tientos come from Sant Pere in Sancelles, played on an organ from 1746 by Mateu Bosch. This is a fine-sounding and expressive instrument, larger-scale in sound than that in Campos, and a good choice for the languorous unfolding of these more expansive works.

The more impressed by a recording the less I’m inclined to write reams about it, preferring instead just to guide you gently towards the ‘purchase’ button. This is admittedly an expensive set, but if you are a fan of excellence at the organ keyboard and the joys of elaborate Baroque period music then this set will take pride of place and give pleasure for decades to come. I’ve mostly listened to it in SACD stereo on headphones, and with each session could feel my brain crackling with the growth of new synapses, such is its stimulating effect. Pablo Bruna’s longer Tiento are like bathing in a warm pool of gently glittering organ loveliness, while Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia’s blend of ecclesiastical polyphony and sprightly dance has its own slightly lower-key sense of delight.

Where all of us will be returning to will however be the first three discs of this set, to marvel anew each time at the glories of the Jordi Bosch organ in Santanyi. The least familiar composer’s name here is José Lidón, whose lifetime and art spans the late Baroque and points towards early Romanticism. Many of his keyboard works are playable on harpsichord as well as organ, and his quirky Spanish style is at times combined with the influence of Haydn to create a lively Classical feel. Martin Schmeding’s imaginative registrations for all of the recordings from Santanyi make for a festive feast of pieces both unfamiliar to the ear, and deservedly famous. Take for instance Soler’s Fandango that closes the first disc. This is a great opportunity for variation in timbre and Schmeding takes us through an entire shopping-list of registers, the SACD sound allowing our ears to experience the distances between banks of various types of pipes as well as their individual character. You will also find yourself rediscovering and revelling in familiar sonatas by Scarlatti, each one taking on a revitalised character the like of which I’ve certainly never heard as convincingly turned out as here.

These discs are layered with hybrid SACD Stereo and 5.0 channel surround sound as well as conventional stereo. You can also splash out on a USB stick with varying options of reproduction quality. The interview disc in clearly spoken German as ever provides plenty of background information with useful access points. Mirjam Wiesemann talks to Martin Schmeding in the organ loft of the Jordi Bosch instrument in Santanyi, and alongside information about tuning and even some quite personal questions to the organist we are also treated to a little of its history and some illustrative bursts of its capabilities. With a colourfully illustrated 90-page booklet in German and English and some of the most breathtaking organ sounds you’ll ever have heard through your hi-fi, it’s easy to consider this neatly folding bundle of SACDs as much a lifetime investment as a luxury purchase.

Dominy Clements
Disc 1
Padre Antonio SOLER (1729-1783)
Sonata 12 'de la Coroniz' en Sol (Fa) Mayor [4:16]
Sonata 32 en Modo Dorico [3:59]
Sonata 33 en Sol Mayor [3:55]
Sonata 4 en Sol Mayor [3:58]
Sonata 49 en Modo Dorico [4:04]
Sonata 117 en Modo Dorico (Re Menor) [2:40]
Sonata 28 en Do Mayor [3:31]
Sonata 65 - Intento con Movimiento contrario en La Menor [5:40]
Sonata 44 en Do Mayor [4:35]
Sonata 48 en Modo Dorico [3:58]
Sonata 104 en Modo Dorico (Re Menor) [3:15]
Sonata 80 en Modo Dorico [6:02]
Sonata pastoril 42 en Mi Mayor [5:13]
Sonata de Clarines 54 en Do Mayor [4:54]
Sonata 24 en Re Menor [6:31]
Fandango [13:39]

Disc 2
Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757)
Sonata K. 159 in C (B) [2:39]
Sonata K. 1 in d [2:54]
Sonata K. 32 in d [1:14]
Sonata K. 33 in D [3:16]
Sonata K. 93 in g [4:17]
Sonata K. 274 in F [2:42]
Sonata K. 2 in G [2:09]
Sonata K. 287 in C 'Per Organo da camera con due Tastatura Flautato è Trombone' [2:35]
Sonata K. 288 in C [2:02]
Sonata K. 61 in a [3:40]
Sonata K. 30 in g - Fuga. [4:41]
Sonata K. 82 in F [3:03]
Sonata K. 380 in D (E) [2:59]
Sonata K. 328 in G [3:12]
Sonata K. 12 in g [2:09]
Sonata K. 417 in d - Fuga. [5:27]
Sonata K. 52 in d [4:52]
Sonata K. 31 in g [2:53]
Sonata K. 255 in C [2:49]
Sonata K. 473 in B [2:35]
Sonata K. 58 in c [3:18]
Sonata K. 330 in C [2:09]
Sonata K. 513 in C - Pastorale. [3:09]
Sonata K. 377 in h [2:31]
Sonata K. 517 in d [3:13]

Disc 3
José LIDÓN (1748-1827)
Seis Piezas o Sonatas sueltas [25:08]
Sonata para Clave in G [2:54]
Sonata de 1er tono [3:30]
Capricho de órgano [2:50]
Adagio y Allegro comodo [3:28]
Cuatro Piezas para la Misa [15:30]
Sonata in F [4:32]
Varios juegos por diferentes tonos de imitación, en tema de sonata, para varios registros [5:49]
Sonata de 6° tono in F - Preludio [:06]
Disc 4
Sebastián Aguilera de HEREDIA (1561-1627)
Obra de 1° tono (Salve Regina) [5:20]
Tiento de 8° tono por de la sol re [4:06]
Tiento de 4° tono de falsas [4:33]
Registro baixo de 1° tom [5:21]
Dos vajos de 8° tono [4:21]
Obra de 8° tono por ge sol re ut [4:20]
Vajo de 1° tono [6:08]
Obra de 8° tono alto. Ensalada [6:11]
Tiento de 4° tono [8:59]
Salve de lleno, 1° tono [2:25]
Tiento de 4° tono de falsas [5:48]
Discurso sobre los saeculorum [3:13]
Obra de 1° tono [5:04]
Pange lingua por ce sol fa ut [1:13]
Pange lingua [1:34]
Falsas de 6° tono [2:15]
Vajo, 1° tono [5:06]
Salve, 1° tono por de la sol re [3:17]
Tiento de Batalla. 8° tono (SACD-only bonus track) [4:40]
Disc 5
Pablo BRUNA (1611-1679)
Registro alto de clarín de 8° tono [10:32]
Tiento lleno de 6° tono sobre Ut re mi fa sol la [8:15]
Tiento de 1er tono de mano derecha y al medio a dos tiples [7:56]
Tiento de dos bajos de 6° tono [9:04]
Tiento de 2° tono por Ge sol re ut 'Sobre la letanía de la Virgen' [6:43]
Tiento de 5° tono de mano izquierda [10:16]
Batalla de 6° tono [7:57]

Disc 6
Mirjan Wiesemann in conversation with organ builder Gerhard Grenzing [51:58]
Mirjan Wiesemann in conversation with organist M. Schmeding [24:31]



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