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Petr Eben (1929-2007)

Organ Music, Vol. 2 – Faust

Halgeir Schiager (organ)
Recording details: June 2000
Hedvig Eleonora Kyrhan, Stockholm, Sweden
Produced by Chris Hazell
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: May 2001
Total duration: 73 minutes 40 seconds
 
Faust  [46'32]
1
Prologue  [4'16]
2
Mysterium  [6'47]
3
4
Easter choirs  [5'58]
5
Student songs  [3'28]
6
Gretchen  [5'18]
7
Requiem  [5'54]
8
Walpurgis night  [7'14]
9
Epilogue  [6'00]
10
11
12
13

Petr Eben was commissioned to write the stage music for a production of Goethe's Faust for the anniversary of the Burgtheater in Vienna (the later version for the organ solo came about in 1980). For this work, he set himself the task of expressing the polarity of good and evil in one person, since he felt the idea behind Goethe's drama was not to create a play about God and Mephistopheles taking place around Faust, but rather to demonstrate the struggle of these conflicting elements within Faust's character. That is the reason why he also sought to realise musically both influences within the one instrument. Consequently, Eben gives the organ a dual role, adding to its venerable, traditional style, the trivial vulgarity of a barrel organ. Thus, the Faust cycle provides us with a glimpse into the eternal struggle within man's being. The rhythmic element of the organ has always inspired Eben, and in the Four Biblical Dances he chooses the rarely used genre of the dance. The organ as a church instrument led him to keep its sacred characteristics so Eben therefore chose dances which appear in the Bible.

Awards

NORWEGIAN CRITICS' ANNUAL PRIZE 2001

Reviews

'Imaginative, appealing, well-performed music … This impressively recorded disc is strongly recommended' (Gramophone)

'Schiager plays the work with real swagger, just what it demands. The sound and flavour of the magnificent instrument of the Eleonora Kyrkan in Stockholm are beautifully captured in the recording' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Halgeir Schiager has virtuosity to burn and he tackles these daunting scores with obvious relish – this is startlingly good playing. A winner on every point’ (International Record Review)

'An organ sound of fine linear clarity and stunning visceral impact. Performances are exemplary' (Fanfare, USA)

'Some of the most effective organ music written in the past half-century' (The Irish Times)

'This second release in the series continues as excellently as the first began. Such performances as these will not fail to win over new followers to the world of contemporary organ music. Followers of Eben’s music need look no further than this stunning disc. Highly recommended' (The Organ)

Other recommended albums

Danyel: Songs
CDA66714
Eben: Organ Music, Vol. 1 – Job
CDA67194
Messiaen: Piano Music
CDA67054
Salve Regina
CDA67225
Arnold: Chamber Music, Vol. 3
CDH55073

Other albums in this series

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