The Organ


Marianische Orgelmusik aus der St-Anna-Basilika Altotting with Ludwig Ruckdeschel on organ.
66' 05"

The huge pilgrimage basilica of St Anna was constructed during the early years of last century, becoming a Papal basilica in 1913. Gerhard Schmid constructed the present instrument in 1976, which featured five manuals and 82 stops, utilising mechanical key and electric drawstop action. Between 1998 and 2000 the organ was thoroughly overhauled - the voicing was readjusted and five new registers were added making it one of the largest instruments in South Germany. Eight divisions are playable from the five manuals and pedal and with the infinite variety of colour available to the player, it can cope effectively with most facets of the organ repertoire.

The church also boasts a superb two manual and pedal choir organ with 26 registers, which was built by Ludwig Wastlhuber (Muhldorf) in 1972. The clarity of this instrument is beautifully demonstrated in the Magnificat Secundi Toni by Johann Kaspar Kerll.

It was an effective idea of organist Ludwig Ruckdeschel to base a comprehensive programme around the themes that reflect the life of the Virgin Mary. Many of the works will be familiar to organists, but as with several recent Psallite CD's the disc contains fascinating surprises from the early 20th century German repertoire. Hermann Schroeder's Die Marianische Antiphone has an interesting structure and the final toccata movement (Salve Regina) blazes powerfully. Fritz Lubrich Jun. was a pupil of Reger and Straube and his delicate Ave Maria uses subtle colourings, which emphasise the beauty of the soft flutes and celestes. A lovely piece!

Arthur Piechler's Nocturno (Salve Regina) comes across as a little gem - simple, colourful and direct, while Ludwig Ruckdeschel's own short Partita on Hail Mary full of grace contains delightful contrasts of style and mood, which highlight the imagery of the text.

Performances of the Ave Maris Stella pieces by Dupr and Langlais highlight the capability of this German instrument to assimilate French-style colouring successfully. The Toccata, fugue and hymn by Flor Peeters concludes this fascinating programme with verve and splendour.

Once again Psallite have produced a top quality recording of a very fine organ. Thirty-five year old Ludwig Ruckdeschel demonstrates total mastery of the instrument throughout a demanding programme producing a fine CD that would grace any collection. GB