Willscher: Organ Symphonies 19 & 20

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Catalogue No: DDA 25162
EAN/UPC: 809730516221
Artists:
Release Date: November 2017
Genres:
Periods:
Discs: 1
Total Playing Time: 72:06

German composer Andreas Willscher has won many awards for his compositions, which range widely from symphonic forms and oratorio to cabaret jazz and rock. His organ works are especially fine and varied – involving often a mélange of post-tonal modernism, minimalism, and jazz and rock elements. Willscher is also an active writer of literary and scientific articles and as a collector and preserver of ‘lost’ and forgotten music of the past.

Organ Symphony Nos 19 and 20 were both composed in 2017 so are truly contemporary. They are lively, thrilling works with great rhythmic vitality. The third work is a suite – The Beatitudes – composed in 1974 at the beginning of the composer’s career.

Carson Cooman is organist of the Memorial Church at Harvard University and also a most prolific composer, writer and teacher.
His works have appeared in many recordings and have been played in every inhabited continent. This is his second recording of Willscher’s music for Divine Art as performer, and the label has already released eight CDs of Cooman compositions with many more planned.

The recording was made on the Schulze organ (1868) in St. Bartholomew, Armley, Leeds in a live performance using the Hauptwerk system.

Track Listing

    Andreas Willscher (b.1955)

  1. Organ Symphony No. 19 ‘Hallelujahs’ – I. Hallelujah of Moses
  2. Organ Symphony No. 19 ‘Hallelujahs’ – II. Hallelujah of Hannah
  3. Organ Symphony No. 19 ‘Hallelujahs’ – III. Hallelujah of Hezekiah
  4. Organ Symphony No. 19 ‘Hallelujahs’ – IV. Hallelujah of the Three Young Men in the Fiery Furnace
  5. Organ Symphony No. 19 ‘Hallelujahs’ – V. Hallelujah of the Angel withe the Golden Rule
  6. Organ Symphony No. 20 ‘Laetare’ – I. Vocem jucunditatis
  7. Organ Symphony No. 20 ‘Laetare’ – II. Lou Boun Diou
  8. Organ Symphony No. 20 ‘Laetare’ – III. Ubi caritas
  9. Organ Symphony No. 20 ‘Laetare’ – IV. Laetare
  10. Organ Symphony No. 20 ‘Laetare’ – V. Urbs Jerusalem
  11. Die Seligpreisungen – I. Blessed are you poor…
  12. Die Seligpreisungen – II. Blessed are you that hunger….
  13. Die Seligpreisungen – III. Elegy: Blessed are you that weep…
  14. Die Seligpreisungen – IV. Toccata: Rejoice in that day…

Reviews

Fanfare

Willscher composes well-crafted music of real inventiveness in a thoroughly tonal idiom that makes liberal use of medieval modes and modern dissonances… Willscher’s voice is definitely his own. The playing here is absolutely terrific, with Cooman at every point making the best possible case for his friend and colleague’s music. Enthusiastically recommended.

” —James A. Altena
MusicWeb International

An interesting addition to the organ repertoire and invaluable as an introduction to the fine Schulze organ in Leeds. Willscher’s music falls easily on the ear and offers scope for colour – Carson Cooman’s sensitive playing shows very well the capabilities of the instrument. Production values are very high, and this is a rewarding disc for lovers of the organ.

” —Michael Wilkinson
Choir & Organ

Despite the shared themes of rejoicing, the accent is largely – an intriguingly – on the understated, Cooman’s advocacy never less than committed and eloquent.

” —Michael Quinn
The Whole Note

[Willscher’s] compositional language for the instrument is deeply traditional yet freely incorporates catchy contemporary rhythms along with carefully applied contemporary tonalities. [The works] reflect Willscher’s lifetime experience writing for the organ , learning to exploit its vast range of colours and dynamics.

” —Alex Baran
New Classics

Andreas Willscher has won many awards for his compositions. . His organ works are especially fine and varied – involving often a mélange of post-tonal modernism, minimalism, and jazz and rock elements. Organ Symphony Nos 19 and 20 were both composed in 2017 so are truly contemporary. They are lively, thrilling works with great rhythmic vitality.

” —John Pitt