Great European Organs no 69
Stephan Engels plays the Seifert Organ of St Matthias, Berlin-Schonberg
PRIORY PRCD 790
Stephan Engels, faculty member at Westminster Choir College in Princeton and international recitalist, has chosen a demanding and varied programme of music by Karg-Elert, Reger, Messiaen and Germani. The organ is a 1958 Seifert (4/74) which was restored in 1993. The reverberation time is very generous and the tutti impressive. Reger's Halleluja! Gott zu Loben is the centrepiece, played with a real sense of drive and line.
The disc opens with Karg-Elert's rarely heard Kaleidoscope opus 144 - an extended and interesting work which deserves to be better known. Also included are shorter pieces of Karg-Elert (three of the opus 65 Chorale Improvisations) and three short works of Reger, Moment Musical, Capriccio and Ave Maria. Messiaen's Meditation V from Méditations sur le Mystère de la Sainte Trinité feels slightly out of place after all of the German music - perhaps this is not a disc to listen to at one sitting. The Messiaen is well characterised and inventively registered. The disc ends with a stunning performance of Fernando Germani's Toccata opus 12 which Germani premiered at the Hereford Three Choirs Festival in 1958. A stunning piece played with flair and panache.