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Celestial Harmonies
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Fünf CDs mit europäischer Musik vom Mittelalter bis heute, die thematisch zu Weihnachten passt, gespielt und gesungen von weltbekannten Interpreten wie dem Concentus musicus, Alsfelder Vokalensemble, Worcester Cathedral Choir, Gustav Leonhardt, Franz Lehrndorfer u.a.

Die meisten der klassischen Werke, die Prof. Lehrndorfer an der neuen großen Orgel der Münchner Frauenkirche spielt, beziehen sich direkt auf Weihnachten. So J. S. Bachs Choralvorspiele „(In dulci jubilo“ u.a.) und Lehrndorfers eigene Choralvorspiele und Improvisationen. Passend zur Weihnachtsstimmung ist auch die Auswahl von Orgelwerken weniger bekannter Komponisten wie Murschhauser (1663-1738), Metsch (1700-1778), Grünberger (1756-1820), Guilmant (1837-1911) sowie dem Orgelmeister Karg-Elert (1877-1933). In jedem Fall eine musikalische Entdeckungsreise.

the project

Celestial Harmonies continues its tradition of presenting a special collection of Christmas music in Celestial Christmas 5, a beautiful and moving collection of seasonal organ music performed by Professor Franz Lehrndorfer on the new organ in the Dome Frauenkirche at Munich, Germany. It is, without doubt, one of the largest and most technically sophisticated organs ever built and is considered a sonic spectacular by those who have heard it. This awesomely powerful and moving sound is produced by 7,165 pipes ranging in height from two millimeters (less than 1/10 inch), to the largest, an incredible eighteen meters (approximately sixty feet), making the organ's overall size comparable to a six story building. At a cost of millions of dollars, the organ was built over three years as part of the first major reconstruction work performed on the Dome since the devastating bombing of World War II.

This truly historic and innovative digital recording is the first made on the new organ. Completed over the course of three weeks by lifelong friends, engineer and producer Ulrich Kraus and Franz Lehrndorfer, it was recorded at night with the organ's master builder, Georg Jann, constantly on hand to provide tuning expertise.

Through his classical variation and compositional techniques, Professor Franz Lehrndorfer articulates the music of Böhm, Bach, Murschhauser, Metsch, Grünberger, Guilmant, and Karg-Elert, as well as his own compositions. Böhm helped to develop the Choralvorspiel, or Choral Prelude, and so influenced and taught much to Bach, who superseded the labors of his predecessors and contemporaries. Two of Bach's Choral Preludes, BWV 605 and BWV 608, are included in this outstanding release.

the artist

Celestial Christmas 5 is one of the most powerfully recorded releases of seasonal organ music ever to be heard. It is performed by Professor Franz Lehrndorfer, an internationally esteemed interpreter of classical and modern organ literatures and one of the few organists who still practices the traditional art of improvisation. Since 1962, Franz Lehrndorfer has been a professor at the Academy of Music in Munich where he heads the Catholic Sacred Music Department. He has been the organist in the Dome at Munich since 1969 and performs this recording on the new organ which was built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Dome.




1 Praeludium und Fuge by Georg Böhm 4'29"
2 Choralspiel »Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland« BWV 659 by J.S. Bach 5'15"
3 Fuga sopra »Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her« BWV 700 by J.S. Bach 2'37"
4 Choralspiel »Der Tag, der isr so freudenreich« BWV 605 by J.S. Bach 1'49"
5 Choralspiel »In dulci jubilo« BWV 608 by J.S. Bach 1'20"
6 Aria »Dein große Lieb, o Jesulein« Thema mit sechs Variationen by Franz Xaver Anton Murschhauser 8'00"
7 Pastorella by Placidus Metsch 2'24"
8 Pastorale by Theodor Grünberger 4'54"
9 Offertoire (Nr. 4) sur le Noel: »Nuit sombre, ton ombre vaut les plus beaux jours« by Alexandre Gulimant 9'32"
10 Choralvorspiel »Es ist ein Ros entsprungen« Franz Lehrndorfer 2'45"
11 Choralvorspiel »O laufet, ihr Hirten« by Franz Lehrndorfer 1'45"
12 Variationen über »O du fröhliche« by Franz Lehrndorfer 10'08"
13 Choralvorspiel Op. 65, 2 »Aus meines Herzens Grunde« (Pastorale) by Sigfrid Karg-Elert 2'42"
14 Freie Improvisation über »In dulci jubilo« by Franz Lehrndorfer 18'33"
  Total Time: 77'23"