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Celestial Harmonies
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Geboren 1928 in Salzburg als Sohn des Kemptener Chordirektors und Musikwissenschaftlers Dr. Lehrndorfer. Meisterklassendiplom im Fach Orgel (1952), gewann 1957 den ersten Preis des internationalen ARD-Musik-Wettbewerbs. Seit 1969 Domorganist der Münchner Frauenkirche, Leiter des Fachbereichs katholische Kirchenmusik und Orgel und Liturgie an der Münchner Musikhochschule (1969-1993). Weltberühmt durch seine Orgelkonzerte und hohe Kunst der Improvisation.

Auf der von Georg Jann gebauten Orgel in der Pfarrkirche von St. Quirin am Tegernsee spielt der Meisterorganist J. S. Bachs Toccata C-Dur, die „Schübler Choräle“ (BWV 645-650) und die Toccata E-Dur. Auf der 2. CD erklingen Max Regers 2. Sonate für Orgel d-moll, Gloria in excelsis, Benedictus, Weihnachten und die Phantasie über den Choral „Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme!“. Nach J. S. Bach hat kein zweiter Komponist die deutsche Kirchen-/Orgelmusik so belebt wie Max Reger (1873-1916). In ihm erlebte Bach sein spätromantisches Comeback.

the project

J.S. Bach (1685-1750) and Max Reger (1873-1916) represent the 'book–ends' of German organ literature. When Germany assumed international leadership in the areas of both organ building and composing for the organ in the 17th century, a more liberal approach to playing the organ began to dominate. Rather than having an organ composition being strictly based on chorales, many divergent elements including improvisation gradually became accepted, and hence the literature for the organ became multi–faceted as a result. No composer stands for this formal and stylistic diversity more than Bach, and it would be rather difficult to stand up to these demands better than Franz Lehrndorfer does. Disc 1 of this double CD features two of Bach's more popular toccatas, BWV 564 and 566, along with the rarely heard Schübler Chorales (transcriptions of earlier works), BWV 645-650. Prof. Lehrndorfer plays the organ at St. Quirin in Tegernsee/Bavaria, built by Georg Jann in 1980; Jann also built the new cathedral organ in Munich, as featured on The Concert (13109) and Celestial Christmas 5 (13090), both by Franz Lehrndorfer.

Max Reger's work covers the compositional styles from baroque to those of the late romantic age developing them further into a very personal approach to 'panchromatic harmony'. For the organist, Reger's œuvre is a second high point in the history of organ literature. Disc 2 presents a wide selection of works for the organ having been written over long periods in the composer's life. Reger's music is deep and passionate; although Reger was known to greatly admire Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, he nevertheless charted new territory leading far into the 20th century and its harmonic innovations. Reger's music has been characterized as 'the artistic symbol of the religious' and as 'mystic' and 'ecstatic.' The composer's deep devotion leads to a joyful, although at times earnest, expression of spirituality transcending previously known boundaries. Franz Lehrndorfer chose the organ in the Dome at Eichstätt/Bavaria which was built by Hubert Sandtner in 1975 for these recordings.

Both discs have been digitally recorded originally in coproduction with the Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Radio) in Munich, and were remastered by Ulrich Kraus, a life–long friend of the artist and a frequent contributor of long standing both as a producer and engineer to the quality of Celestial Harmonies recordings. These recordings have never been available internationally, and they were difficult to obtain in Germany. Celestial Harmonies is pleased to reissue these masters world–wide, and to warrant their permanent availability.

the artist

Franz Lehrndorfer was born in Salzburg, Austria and grew up in Bavaria. He received his early musical education from his father, a musicologist and choir leader.

In 1957, he proved his mastery of the organ when he won first prize at the international ARD Competition sponsored by the German broadcasting network. In 1969 Lehrndorfer was appointed organist of the Munich Cathedral, the same year he became head of the Department of Organ and Catholic Liturgical Music at the Munich Conservatory. His renown and the resulting demand for his services as a teacher led him to found a School of Organ in Munich, which has since produced two generations of graduates. More than a few names well-known to the music world may be counted among them.

Lehrndorfer is a recognized master of the art of improvisation. His concerts both in Germany and abroad are invariably met with enthusiasm and admiration, and many of his performances have been preserved in recordings.

As Dome Organist for over 30 years and as a visiting professor at the Catholic University in Porto, Portugal, Lehrndorfer has carried on a tradition of organ recitals initiated by his predecessors and has expanded their scope. Well–known contemporary composers write works for him to premiere.

deutsche beiheft-texte




  Disc 1: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)  
  Toccata C-dur, BWV 564 15'03"
1 Toccata 5'40"
2 Adagio 4'43"
3 Fuga 4'38"
  Sechs Choräle von verschiedener Art 20'05"
  »Schübler–Choräle« BWV 645-650  
  (Six Chorales of Various Types »Schübler–Chorales«)  
4 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme 4'10"
5 Wo soll ich fliehen hin 1'35"
  (Auf meinen lieben Gott)  
6 Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten 4'26"
7 Meine Seele erhebet den Herrn 2'46"
8 Ach bleib' bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ 2'48"
9 Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel herunter 3'53"
  Toccata E-dur, BWV 566 10'41"
10 Toccata 2'22"
11 Fuge 8'19"
  Total time 46'09"
  Disc 2: Max Reger (1873-1916)  
  2. Sonate für Orgel d-moll op. 60 24'08"
1 Improvisation.  
  Allegro con brio (ma non troppo vivace) 8'53"
2 Invocation.  
  Grave con duolo (doch nicht schleppend) 7'27"
  Introduction und Fuge 7'40"
3 Introduction. Allegro assai 2'32"
4 Fuge. Allegro energico 5'08"
5 Gloria in excelsis op. 59/8 4'43"
6 Benedictus op. 59/9 5'34"
7 Weihnachten op. 145/3 8'39"
  Phantasie über den Choral:  
  »Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme!« op. 52/2 20'30"
8 Introduzione und Variationen 13'53"
9 Fuge. Allegro vivace 6'37"
  Total time 64'00"