Album cover art for upc 760623216164
Catalog: 9462161-6
Format: SACD


During the nineteenth century Berlin quickly developed from a muddy provincial backwater into a metropolis of world rank. Things went upward at the same pace in the arts and culture, and at their summit Wilhelm Sauer built his magnificent organ, which was dedicated along with the Berlin Cathedral in 1905. Cathedral organist Andreas Sieling has mined some choice nuggets of Berlin organ music from this extremely productive period, including some premiere recordings and an old Berlin hit in a really surprising recording. Mendelssohn of course is a must. The Three Preludes and Fugues op. 37 by this composer who spent his formative years in Berlin are the oldest selections on this lovingly produced Super Audio album. Mendelssohn received instruction in organ from the St. Mary’s organist August Wilhelm Bach, who exerted unrivalled influence on Berlin’s church music over the decades. Otto Dienel was also a Bach pupil; for his popular “Organ Recitals” at midday he skillfully linked classical forms such as the chorale setting with programmatic tones. Today Franz Wagner, August Haupt, and Philipp Rüfer will hardly ring a bell, even among organ experts. However, all three were very successful during their times. Haupt’s Concert Fugue, recorded here for the first time, circulated from hand to hand as a copy until a former pupil in the United States had it published. Rüfer was also in great demand as a teacher; Karl Straube and Albert Becker numbered among his pupils. Andreas Sieling has a full musical arsenal available to him on “his” Sauer organ: 113 stops on four manuals and the pedal enable him to produce unmatched sound color. The outstandingly designed pneumatic action guarantees virtuosic playing even amid heavy-duty chords, and the velvety rich sound of this masterful instrument especially finely brings out the quality of the compositions.

Price: $22.99