Rheinberger: Chamber Music with Organ

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The organ sonatas of Josef Rheinberger still feature large in the repertoire of church organists everywhere, thanks to their attractive melodies and fluent writing for the instrument. Rheinberger’s industry and his skill as a teacher have overshadowed his gifts as a composer in other genres, which this new release helps to redress with suites and tone-pictures for the combination of strings and organ.

While Rheinberger’s Abendlied Op.69 No.2 holds a Brahmsian appeal for choruses, his instrumental Abendlied Op.150 is much less familiar. Yet the combination of string- instrument and organ is intensely evocative of the warm mood of recollection intrinsic to the German genre of ‘Evening Songs’; Rheinberger balances the two instruments with great skill and sympathy so that the organ always supports the cello’s noble cantabile. The Abendlied features here in two recordings; arranged for cello, and in its original version for violin, as part of the complete set of six pieces. Cellist Marco Dalsass also contributes an arrangement of the Pastorale and Elegie from the same set, and it proves fascinating to compare the angelic song of the violin with the warmer baritonal register of the cello in the same music. Both violin and cello join the organ for the Suite Op.149: a substantial four-movement work lasting 40 minutes, opening in a passionate but Baroque-inflected C minor. A meditative set of variations on an original theme is followed by a solemn sarabande, beautifully conceived for all three instruments in the vein of a Romantic slow movement but essentially ecclesiastical in tone. Baroque forms – a free-flowing prelude, a tender Canzone and graceful Allemande – also soften the C minor tonality of the Suite Op.166 for violin and organ, before the Moto perpetuo finale brings the suite to a dazzling close with the most extrovert music in the collection.

Product Description:

  • Release Date: April 22, 2022

  • Catalog Number: BRI96470

  • UPC: 5028421964706

  • Label: Brilliant Classics

  • Number of Discs: 2

  • Period: Romantic

  • Composer: Josef Rheinberger

  • Performer: Manuel Tomadin (Organ)