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LABELS: Celestial Harmonies
WORKS: Organ Concertos, Op. 10 (arr. Lehrndorfer)
PERFORMER: Franz Lehrndorfer (organ)
This disc is a curious hybrid. John Stanley’s organ concertos, modelled on those of Handel, are essentially small-scale, frothy pieces. The performer on this disc, Franz Lehrndorfer, has adapted and arranged them for solo organ, and in so doing has made substantially bigger pieces out of them than Stanley might have envisaged. Lehrndorfer has, in the Jann organ of Munich’s Dom, a symphony orchestra at his fingertips, and he brings its grand rhetoric to bear on this music with great success. The orchestral ritornelli are fattened out while the solo organ passages remain quiet and intimate, thus projecting Stanley’s antiphonal intentions on to a larger canvas. He even finds solo stops which are convincingly reminiscent of a 17th-century English organ. Though the instrument is closely miked, one nevertheless hears the cavernous interior of the Domkirche behind the microphones, adding an unexpected larger-scale quality to this usually intimate music. But the rhythmic drive prevents any self-indulgence or stodginess, and the playing is always stylish and convincing. The soundscape is excellent, once one becomes accustomed to the issues of scale. Somehow one thinks Stanley himself would have been delighted. William Whitehead