Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Nicolaus Bruhns, Georg Dietrich Leiding, Friedhelm Flamme|
Bruhns/Leyding: Complete Organ Works
Listen to Samples
Two All-But-Unknown North German Masters
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 12/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before I heard this disc Nicolaus Bruhns was only a name to me, and Georg Dietrich Leyding wasn't even that. These two North German masters, each born about twenty years before Bach and Handel, studied with Buxtehude and wrote in the Buxtehudian style known as 'stylus phantasticus'. This SACD -- whose sound, by the way, is extraordinarily lifelike, and captures the beauty of the organ of the Sankt-Petri-Kirche in Melle -- is the first organ SACD I've heard, but if this is any indication of what they can sound like, I'm sold! The disc contains all the known organ works of these two composers, a pitifully small amount of music for two such masters of organ writing. None of the works exists in the composers' hand. Indeed, much of the Bruhns music is taken from copies made by Johann Sebastian Bach for his own use. One can only hope that eventually other manuscripts will be found; these are sensationally effective works.
Bruhns (1665-1697) began as a violinist, taking up the organ only when sent to Lübeck to study under Buxtehude. He became a virtuoso on both instruments and it is said that he sometimes took his violin into the organ loft and played violin and organ pedal duets! It is clear from his writing for pedals that he must have been an extraordinary player. There is, for instance, a double pedal passage in the first fugue of the Praeludium in G Major that begs to be heard and marveled at. As Amazon has not listed them as of the date of this review, I will list the Bruhns works played here: Praeludia in e minor (the 'great'), in G Major, in g minor, and in e minor (the 'little'), as well as an Adagio in D and a Chorale Prelude on 'Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland.' The works are epitomized by fastasia/toccata passages interspersed with formal fugues (in some cases more than one fugue per Prelude).
Georg Dietrich Leyding (1664-1710) is represented by five works, all of which are given their first recordings: Praeludium in C Major, in B Major, in E flat Major, and a chorale prelude on 'Von Gott will ich nicht lassen' and, finally, a fragmentary piece based on 'Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern.' Those north German organists must have been real show-offs -- the first Prelude begins with a virtuoso solo pedal cadenza, and there are others throughout Leyding's works.
The organist here was previously unknown to me: Friedhelm Flamme. He is young, studied with Gerhard Weinberger in Detmold and is currently director of church music for the diocese of Göttingen. The Melle organ, built by Christian Vater (and pictured beautifully on the back cover of the CD booklet) dates from 1724 and has had a number of remodelings and reconstruction, most recently in 2000. It is from the Schnitger school of organ-building; indeed, it is thought Vater studied with Schnitger. A lovely instrument.
For organ fanciers who are not familiar with this music, I can give this CD a strong recommendation.