Max Reger - Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott, Op. 27
In 1905, Wilhelm Sauer (1831-1916) completed his—up to then—largest organ for the new cathedral: the monumental instrument with 113 speaking stops on four manuals is a unique testimony to the great art of late romantic organ building in Germany.
Restored to its original condition in the early 90s (the cathedral was hit twice during WWII; even though it had no roof for several years, there was relatively little damage to the organ), it offers a great opportunity to hear the works of contemporary composers such as Max Reger on the kind of instrument that they were written for, and in the cathedral that embodies the unhealthy relationship between church and state in imperial Germany.
There are a few choice organs in the world whose encounter is a life changing experience. Today I would like to share my impressions from one such instrument, the majestic Sauer organ in Berlin Cathedral.
Dieterich Buxtehude, organist at St. Mary's Church in Lübeck from 1668 until his death in 1707, composed some of the most stunning organ works of the 17th century, which greatly influenced the young Bach.
The glorious Praeludium in d, BuxWV 140, is an outstanding example of the North German organ school: it was inspired by the magnificent organs that Buxtehude had at his disposal in St. Mary's, and the rich cultural life in Lübeck—a proud member of the Hanseatic league.
Abendmusiken Concert Series
Franz Tunder had initiated the practice of giving (organ) concerts for businessmen before the opening of the stock exchange as early as 1646. It was only under his successor Buxtehude, however, that the Abendmusiken developed
Widor's Toccata is by far the most favorite Easter Postlude—and for a very good reason! But what about considering Charles Tournemire's stunning improvisation on Victimae paschali as an equally compelling (if not superior) alternative?
Recordings of a Master Improviser
Maurice Duruflé once said about his improvisation lessons with Tournemire that he felt like "sitting on a volcano about to erupt!" This colorful image gives a perfect description of the Victimae, one of five improvisations that Tournemire recorded in 1930 on the legendary 1859 Cavaillé-Coll organ at St. Clotilde (where César Franck had served as the first titular organist). Clearly, Tournemire's "poetical, capricious, and tumultuous imagination" was in full swing during this recording session.
The recordings also allow us a rare insight into the ways how one of the great masters of the
Pictures, stories and videos from my concerts & travels