Mendelssohn: Organ Sonata No. 1; Prelude & Fugue in C minor, Op. 37/1; Four Studies for Organ

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COMPOSERS: Mendelssohn
LABELS: Somm
ALBUM TITLE: Mendelssohn organ works
WORKS: Organ Sonata No. 1; Prelude & Fugue in C minor, Op. 37/1; Four Studies for Organ
PERFORMER: Jennifer Bate (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: SOMMCD 050
Here’s the first of Jennifer Bate’s five-CD survey of Mendelssohn’s complete extant organ works. Organists who know only the sonatas and the preludes and fugues should note that no fewer than three of the nine volumes of the new Breitkopf und Härtel Mendelssohn edition are devoted to organ music. The editor, Christian Martin Schmidt, has traced a large amount of hitherto unpublished material, all of which Bate will include in her series. After careful research she has chosen six quintessentially English organs, ranging from the large Harrisons of All Saints, Margaret Street and the Temple Church, to the Lewis of St John’s Upper Norwood, the Hill of St Stephen’s Bournemouth, and the Walkers of Wimborne Minster and St Matthew’s, Bayswater.

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Vol. 1 contains examples of mature works, together with an impressive Praeludium by the 11-year-old composer and four unpublished studies which show him to have been a pragmatic recycler. Bate acknowledges Mendelssohn as a passionate improviser whose personal style won him many friends during his ten visits to Britain; if more passion might occasionally be welcome in these performances, Bate’s scholarly approach and fastidious playing are reason enough for Mendelssohn devotees to collect the complete set. Graeme Kay