Rheinberger: Organ Concerto No. 1; Organ Concerto No. 2; Organ Sonata in E minor, Op. 132

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COMPOSERS: Rheinberger
WORKS: Organ Concerto No. 1; Organ Concerto No. 2; Organ Sonata in E minor, Op. 132
PERFORMER: Georges Lartigau (organ); Forum Sinfonietta/Jérôme Devaud
Composer of some worthy organ sonatas and much else which remains cordoned off from the standard repertoire, Rheinberger is best characterised as a helping of Schumann or Brahms with extra sugar on top. But I sincerely hope that those without a sweet tooth will give this disc serious attention, too, for it is an unalloyed delight. Georges Lartigau does a splendid job at the Tulle Cathedral organ, an instrument that is something of an anomaly in France: built in 1839 by an Englishman, the instrument still speaks, after numerous revoicings, with an English accent, but does ample justice to the neo-classical, pre-Reger sound-world of Rheinberger. The real revelation of this disc is the Forum Sinfonietta, which fizzes with energy and whose ensemble and tuning are top class; this can only be the sound of a youthful ensemble, hungry to make music. Its finely nuanced performances make the most of the achingly beautiful melodies with which these pieces abound. Though I suspect some spectacular engineering hoops have been jumped through to balance up a west-end organ and chamber orchestra beneath, the sound is direct and extremely lucid. Indeed it is an integral part of what makes this music achieve lift-off, and Trob’Art should be congratulated on a marvellous achievement. Look out for more from the same stable. William Whitehead