Four organ showpieces performed of the Great organ of Milan Cathedral
Franz Liszt was a master at taking well-known tunes from popular operas and turning them into highly effective concert paraphrases for piano and orchestra. He had already produced 3 based on Meyerbeer’s 1849 hit opera Le Prophet. The fourth work was to be a vast fantasie and fugue for organ taking the tune sung in Act I by the three Anabaptists urging people to see the error of their ways.
Max Reger’s fantasies for organ are, like Liszt’s works, virtually symphonic poems for solo organ. The op40/2 work is divided into 6 movements, and each mirrors the text of the Protestant chorale on which the work is based – anger, sin and love - all are depicted here.
Cesar Franck’s Piece Heroique is the last of his Three Pieces for organ composed in 1878 for the inaugural concerts of the new Cavaille-Coll organ in the Salle des Fetes in the Palais du Trocadero. The Franco-Prussian war had just ended, and the French had been defeated. The troops marched through Paris in 1871. It must have been a sombre procession. Franck’s work is rather more funereal than jingoistic – its emotions are ambivalent.
Just as Liszt was a piano virtuoso, Edwin Lemare was the foremost organ virtuoso of his time. Taking a work by another piano virtuoso – Camille Saint- Saens’ orchestral symphonic poem Danse Macabre (already Liszt had transcribed the original for piano) and transcribing it for organ Lemare created one of the most famous of organ showpieces.
- Recorded in 2008.
- Booklet note by the artist, with full organ specification of the Milan Cathedral organ.