Mendelssohn: Complete Works for Organ, Vol 2 - Schmeding

Mendelssohn: Complete Works for Organ, Vol 2 - Schmeding

Ars Produktion  ARS 38 047

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Drei Präludien und Fugen Op. 37, Andante (Trio) in F major, Fughetta (Allegro moderato) in A major, Allegro in B major, Fuge (Lento) in F minor, Sonate in D major Op. 65/5, Allegro in D minor, Fugue in E minor, Sonata in B major Op. 65/4

Martin Schmeding (organ)

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Reviews (1)

Review by Adrian Quanjer - August 19, 2016

ARS-Produktion recorded Mendelsohn’s complete organ oeuvre on two volumes of which this one, the second, is played on the organ of the St. Pankratius church in Bockenem. Next to the important works, like the Preludes Op. 37 and the 6 Sonatas Op. 64, a number of smaller pieces (but not all of them) have been recorded. On Vol. 1 (Mendelssohn: Complete Works for Organ, Vol 1 - Schmeding), there was sufficient room left for including Martin Schmeding's transcription of the ‘Variations sérieuses’ Op. 54.

What many people probably don’t know is that Felix Mendelssohn, taking his first lessons aged 11 from August Wilhelm Bach (no family of JSB), was one of the most important organists of his time. In and outside German borders. His concerts in London were not only impressive, it also became clear that, with the exception of the one of St. Paul’s Cathedral, English organs were not built (full pedal missing) for his Bach recitals, obliging Mendelssohn to ably adapting Bach’s music on the spot.

In the 19th century, Engelhard, organ builders in central Germany, installed around a hundred organs, mostly in surrounding smaller towns and villages, of which some 20 are still functional, though repaired, modernized and tinkered with, with various degrees of success. But here we have an example of a renovation job well done. After having been rebuilt several times, it finally was the organ builder, Sauer, from Frankfurt an der Oder, who not only restored it to its original beauty, but also added dispositions which turned this organ into a truly extraordinary instrument. Full details can be found in the liner notes.

Martin Schmeding is an authority on 'all things organ'. There are few organs in Germany he isn’t familiar with. And his many recordings span much of the organ literature from Bach to Widor. Since 2004 he is Head of the Department of Church Music in Freiburg. Of particular interest is his ARS-Produktion recording of Schumann’s compositions for ‘pedalflügel’ (combination of a piano with organ pedals): Schumann: Complete works for Pedalflügel - Schmeding.

His judicious and insightful playing makes listening and savouring Mendelssohn's brilliant church music nothing less than an exquisitely rewarding experience. But that is not all. Recording in a church is by no means an easy thing. Not only because mechanical noise and windy elements, but also the sound of empty space and the occasional passing lorry outside. Little if anything at all disturbs the listening expirence. Better even, the sound is round and full with no bassy booming or shrilling shrieks, and no unwanted echoes either. There is air around the organ and one enjoys the feeling to be seated in the most privileged part of the church. This is A 1 + stuff from ‘tonmeister’ Manfred Schumacher.

In Volume 1 Schmeding plays the ‘Kuhn-Orgel’ of the ‘Alfred Krupp Hall’ in Essen, Germany. It’s a new and superb organ with all the trimmings needed for the whole of the organ literature, and above all the great symphonic works. The Engelhard/Sauer-organ, used in Vol. 2, is in a different league. It’s rare to find an organ with such a noble and pleasant sound spectrum. I’ve greatly enjoyed this disk from the first Prelude Op. 37.1 till the final Sonata Op. 65.4. What else can I say than to recommend it warmly to all serious music lovers, with multi-channel as best option.

Normandy, France

Copyright © 2016 Adrian Quanjer and


Sonics (Multichannel):

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