Organ Landscape - Jan Janca (Organ)

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ORGAN LANDSCAPE - Gdansk and West Prussia - Jan Janca (Organ) - MDG 3190274

This recording is not new in the true sense of the word, having been recorded 25 years ago now back in 1986, but it is new in the sense that it has just been transfered to CD, so therefore is only now widely available to all organ buffs. The year of release it was immediately awarded the Prize of the German Record Critics, and based on sound quality alone, you would never guess that it was already 25 years old. It is one more quality addition to MDG's long standing series of organ recordings called Organ Landscape.

This release in particular presents to us the many historical instruments of West Prussia and its capital city Danzig (Gdansk), with music by composers who lived in the area and were of influence in the region. Music spanning a long period from the 1500s to today, from composers as varied as Theophil Andreas Volckmar, Friedrich Wilhelm Markull, Petrus Artomius, Augustyn Bloch, Paul Siefert (a pupil of Sweelinck), Johann Gottlieb Goldberg (a famous pupil of Bach), and the organist himself Jan Janca. Works ranging from large Sonatas, Postludes, Suites and Chorales to short early Renaissance Fantasias. All played on nine impressive West Prussian organs as varied as the composers. Organs with as little as 15 stops to as many as 100, all finely restored and left as close as possible to their original state. The instrument in St. Marien Danzig impresses with its 8' and 16' Trompete as well as its 1' Sifflote. The organ of St. Nikolai Danzig has a range going from a 32' Subkontra to a 1 3/5' Terz, and way at the other end of the scale, you have an organ like the one in Philharmonie Bromberg who is basically only a 8' Flot, 4' Prinsepa, 4' Flot and 2' Octaf. Therefore you have organs that will rattle your cage, and some, like the one in Bromberg, that let you hear the wind passing through the pipe's mouth and the noise of all the small mechanical actions behind each note.

The organist Jan Janca, who supplies two of his own very impressive compositions on this CD, knows all of these different organs very well, and has picked works that exploit each organ's qualities well and highlight their historical significance. The booklet contains detailed notes and photographs of all the organs, including individual lists of all their stops and all the registrations used for each and every piece played on each organ. Definitely a must-have recording for all serious organ music collectors out there, or anyone in anyway interested in the historical value of both the instruments and the music.

Jean-Yves Duperron