If you like Rheinberger....
Avid Reader | Franklin, Tn | 03/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You will love these Symphonies (quote unquote) by Guilmant. They are actually organ concertos along the line of the two by Joseph Rheinberger, the great German Romantic. The two men were similar in their conservativism, deep Catholicism and musical tastes. In fact, Rheinberger dedicated his Ninth Sonata to Guilmant and they were close personal friends.
I say all this as an introduction to these two works which are not extremely original in the scoring but are beautiful works of art. Guilmant simply transformed his first and last Sonatas into these Symphonies without modifying much of the original work. The first is as rollicking as the last is meditative. I would have preferred to see the Fifth and Sixth sonatas but these were the most "organistic" and least pianistic of the entire group. It is Guilmant's pianism and sens of harmony and melody that are evident in each movement. The exciting ending of the first leads into a rapturous Marche Elegiaque which alternates Classical and Romantic writing. The A Major was the last Sonata and as such was more contemplative than the others. In structure he seems to complete the circle and return to conservative forms but as the piece progresses it slowly unfolds like a butterfly spreading its wings until it finally ascends."
Great performance - lousy accoustics
Jerry Rutledge | Minnesota | 11/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I love these works. In my next life I'm going to be an organist. Accomplished, of course....haha.....
Surely this is a virtuoso performance. However, for my taste, the Bamberger Concert Hall where it was recorded is far to "lively" for the way it was recorded. Krapp and Fedoseyev take this at breakneak speed, particularly the exciting final movement of the 1st and for me, at least, many of the notes are simply lost in the ambience of the hall. It reminds me of the only performance of Elgar's Dream of Gerontius done in Minnesota in the last 50+ years. Sadly, performed at the St. Paul Cathedral. The echo is SO bad that unless you were sitting in the first three rows, you missed most everything.
By contrast, I have an old reel to reel tape that I made from Minnesota Public Radio years and years ago of a student organist (I presume, at least) playing the First with the Butler University Symphony Orchestra. Slower pace in a far less lively venue and the last measures never fail to bring me to tears. I hope someone else records this before I'm gone. For now, it will have to do."