ANTON BRUCKNER (1824-1896): Complete Organ Transcriptions of Symphonies, Vol. 2 - Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, (1877 version transcr. Erwin Horn [b.1940]), Psalm 150 (transcr. Horn), DAVID MATTHEWS (b.1943): Meditation on the Slow Movement of Bruckner’s Second Symphony “Bruckner Window III).

Catalogue Number: 12X030

Label: Oehms Classics

Reference: OC478

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: It has become something of a truism to suggest that the organist-composer Bruckner’s symphonies are in some way or to some extent "orchestrated organ music". What this skillful transcription of the rather under-valued Second Symphony does rather conclusively is demonstrate that even in expert hands, this very orchestral symphony transcribes successfully for the organ, but is at heart a work that relies more on the things that an orchestra can do but an organ can’t more than the other way around. Nevertheless, it provides a new perspective on a familiar work in a way that is effective in its own way and respectful of the original. The point is emphasized, if anything, by the juxtaposition of David Matthews' splendid new work, one of ten which will be commissioned from contemporary composers to accompany this series, which is absolutely conceived in terms of the organ. The work, modeled on the template of a Bruckner slow movement, is a "meditation" on that of No.2, and quotes a theme from it, but its wayward (but tonal) harmony is that of Matthews, not Bruckner; nonetheless, from its mysterious chant-like opening through its chorale textures and steadily mounting tension to its thunderous climax and serene coda is imbued with the unmistakable spirit of Bruckner. Its counterpoint, the possibilities provided for "offstage" distance effects, and the division of material between manuals is quintessentially organ composition, and even though Matthews (who does not play the organ) left the registration to the organist, the way in which the music is layered and structured, and the elegant, lofty architecture of its form make it a substantial and valuable addition to the organ repertoire. Hansjörg Albrecht (Willis organ at Winchester Cathedral London).


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