Born in Liège, Joseph Jongen (1873–1953) spent most of his life in his native Belgium. His Sonata eroïca
, Op 94, which dates from 1930 and bears a dedication to Joseph Bonnet, is not only his masterpiece but also a landmark in twentieth-century organ music. Following the example of Liszt’s Sonata in B minor, it is not, as the title might suggest, a multi-movement work but a magnificent single span in which a beautiful and ingenious melody (heard first on string-toned stops) is made the subject of variations which, growing in intensity and animation, conclude with a finely wrought fugato. Here again one thinks of Liszt, for although Jongen’s fugal writing is impeccable, he soon abandons the textbook in favour of the rhapsodic style of writing with which this work reaches its truly heroic conclusion.
from notes by Relf Clark © 2006