3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
James Yowell Yelvington
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This CD, issued by Special Music Company on the budget Stradivari label as SCD-6027, presents 7 organ "masterpieces" ranging from Bach and Händel to Widor, a total of about 58 minutes of classical organ favorites performed by Klemens Schnorr on the old Steinmeyer organ in the Concert Hall of the Münchner Musikhochschule (literally, "Munich Music High School," though such German institutions offer specialized instruction at the college, even graduate, level.}
The selection of music offers little surprise: long familiar favorites from Bach, Händel, Franck, Widor, Liszt, and Mozart. (Händel's Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah does catch us off guard, but we excuse it as due to Schnorr's enthusiasm for his own transcription. Otherwise, the Mozart Fantasy in F Minor, K. 608, for clockwork organ seems a less-than-likely item, though it is no stranger to fans of organ music.) There is no need to comment further upon music which is so well established in the repertoire.
What about the performances? They are all quite excellent. Herr Professor Schnorr is a seasoned professional with a long curriculum vitae as organist, teacher, and organ expert. He won first prize in 1975 at the International Organ Competition in Bologna, Italy at the age of 25 or so. In 1991 he was appointed full professor at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg im Breisgau. In 2002-2003 he was appointed founding rector of the Hochschule for Catholic Church Music and Music Pedagogy in Regensburg. His playing is technically proficient and musically informed, yielding performances which are well-paced, stylistically sound, ear-catching, and very satisfying. The acoustic of the Grosser Saal at the Münchner Musikhochschule seems close to ideal, with enough reverberation to enrich the sound, but not so much as to obscure musical details. The sound of the organ is very smooth and full, with a rich palette of tone colors and plenty of power for the climaxes.
The instrument played is the 4-manual, 114-rank, 74-stop neo-baroque organ built in 1959 by the Georg Friedrich Steinmeyer firm at Oettingen and little changed since, except for a new, modern console installed around 1980. (The Steinmeyer was, however, removed--after this recording was made--and replaced in 1999 with a new 3-manual, 52-stop instrument from the Swiss firm Orgelbau Kuhn AG.)
The track numbering shown on the liner notes of my copy is in error. Though all the pieces are identified, one is not assigned a track number, thus making all the following track numbers wrong. Instead of the 6 tracks shown, there are actually 7 tracks on the disk, which are:
1 - G.F. Händel: Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah, transcribed by Klemens Schnorr. (4:35)
2 - J.S. Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 (8:52)
3 - J.S. Bach: Wachet Auf Ruft Uns die Stimme, BWV 645 (4:28)
4 - W.A. Mozart: Fantasy in F Minor, K. 608, "For the works of an organ in a clock" (11:12)
5 - C. Franck: Prelude, Fugue and Variations in B Minor, op. 18 (10:11)
6 - C.-M. Widor:Toccata in F Major from Organ Symphony, op. 42 (6:26)
7 - F. Liszt: Preludium and Fugue on B-A-C-H (12:27)
Although this recording comes on a budget label, the music is excellent. The organ sounds fine under the expert fingers of Klemens Schnorr in a most congenial acoustic. The 1988 digital recording is well engineered, resulting in clean, well-imaged and appealing sound.
If you want a good recording of organ music at a very affordable price you can hardly go wrong with this fine CD.