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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55211
Recording details: February 1996
All Saints, Kingston upon Thames, United Kingdom
Produced by Paul Spicer
Engineered by Paul Niederberger
Release date: September 1996
Total duration: 29 minutes 57 seconds

'An unexpected delight: charming music, beautifully played and captured in an extraordinarily successful recording. As musical diversions go, this is certainly one to savour.' Editor's Choice (Gramophone)

'What an unusual but highly successful combination organ, violin and cello turns out to be—Forgotten but highly attractive chamber music' (Classic CD)

'… it is hard to imagine Barritt, Lester and Herrick being bettered' (Fanfare, USA)

'This has to be my record of the month!' (Organists' Review)

Six Pieces for violin and organ, Op 150

Abendlied  [3'27]
Gigue  [4'36]
Pastorale  [3'50]
Elegie  [3'46]
Ouverture  [7'21]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The variations which make up the first of the Six Pieces, Op 150, are possibly even more wide-ranging and improvisatory than those in the Suite, Op 149. The theme is in the manner of a sarabande, with a dramatic interrupted cadence in the twelfth bar, which is reinterpreted in many different ways in the course of the piece. The first variation begins by sticking to the harmonic outline of the theme, but soon the violin’s cantilena is winging its own independent way. There is an interesting change in texture for the second variation, with the violin playing on its lowest string and the organ above it. The third is in the style of a caprice, with continuous semiquavers for the violin and chordal accompaniment from the organ. The fourth and final variation is like a miniature violin concerto, complete with cadenza, ending quietly in the major.

The other pieces in the set are all in fairly traditional forms, in an idiom familiar from his Monologues and Character Pieces for solo organ. Abendlied, Pastorale and Elegie all demonstrate Rheinberger’s ability to spin long and expressive melodic lines, and he thought highly enough of them to arrange them for cello. Even in the simple song form of a piece like Abendlied, he confounds our expectations by interrupting the reprise with new material. The third movement is a Gigue, with a certain earthy, peasant-like quality to it. The adagio of the sixth movement combines the sharply dotted rhythms of the French overture with the rhetorical flourishes of the nineteenth-century virtuoso. The energetic fugato which follows moves effortlessly in and out of passages of contrasting lyricism. The opening dotted style returns at the end to round the piece off in a grand and dramatic manner.

from notes by Stephen Westrop © 1996

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