Magazine article The American Organist

Mendelssohn Organ Sonatas

Magazine article The American Organist

Mendelssohn Organ Sonatas

Article excerpt

MENDELSSOHN ORGAN SONATAS. Jonathan Dimmock, organist. IH/63 Holzhey organ (1787) of Moster Weissenau, Ravensburg (Bavaria), Germany. Loft Recordings LRCD-1112. Loft.cc. Located a five-minute drive from the famed 1750 Gabler organ in Weingarten Abbey, the Holzhey organ of the Abbey Church of Weissenau (literally "white meadow") is a beautiful instrument that serves the music of Mendelssohn well, with its large complement of foundations, color stops, and bright ensembles. Mendelssohn was well acquainted with the Bavarian region and highly regarded the work of Holzhey. In his notes Jonathan Dimmock cites Mendelssohn's predilection for classically voiced organs with which he was familiar in his native Germany. His organ sonatas, written at the behest of the English publisher Coventry & Hollier, famously contain demanding pedal parts that, reflecting the German tradition, would befuddle his English colleagues with their limited pedalboards and pedal technique. That said, Dimmock admits that playing the sonatas' challenging pedal passages on the Holzey was difficult due to the old-fashioned, stubby pedals. He successfully overcomes the challenge, with precise and clear pedal playing in all the tricky spots. The organ's temperament is Werkmeister III, which, while presenting occasional issues in certain keys, promotes the unique tonal properties of each key. …

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