Mendelssohn, F.: Org Sons 1-6; Dimmock/Holzhey Org, Ravenburg, Germany [Loft] AUDIOPHILE (1 CD) Felix Mendelssohn’s (1809-1847) six organ sonatas (1844-45) can be considered romantic successors to J.S. Bach’s (1685-1750) works for that instrument. As performed here on one of Germany’s finest classical organs, it’s easy to understand why these late Mendelssohn pieces would go on to influence such other greats as Robert Schumann (1810-1856), Franz Liszt (1811-1886) and Johannes Brahms (1833-1897).
Felix left no specific registration indications, but only general guidelines as to how the sonatas should be done. Fortunately our soloist, Jonathan Dimmock , has a real feel for this music as well as the organ featured here, giving us articulate, beautifully balanced interpretations of everything.
The first sonata is noteworthy for its flowing finale, which Dimmock plays to perfection, capturing every detail of this exuberant offering. The second has an impressive stately allegro which introduces a final fugue old J.S. would have loved. The superbly registrated two-part third is memorable for its clever contrapuntal maestoso opening, which Felix follows with a tuneful closing andante .
There’s never an idle moment in the thrilling fourth sonata, where our soloist gets a chance to show off his considerable technical abilities. The fifth, whose first movement is built on a chorale, acts as a brief rest bit before the sixth, which is a showcase for a number of colorful stops. The latter is for the most part an inventive theme and variations based on another chorale tune. It ends with a reverential fugue followed by a heavenly postlude.
As they did with their recent Buxtehude CDs (see the newsletter of 29 September 2009 ), producer Roger Sherman and recording engineer Erik Sikkema have come up with another exceptional ULSI organ release. That plus Jonathan Dimmock ‘s well-judged registrations and immaculate playing on an instrument perfectly suited to these sonatas make this the current disc of choice for this music. By the way, those occasional clicks aren’t someone knocking on your front door, but the mechanical action associated with this venerated tracker action instrument.
— Bob McQuiston , Classical Lost and Found (CLOFO.com, Y100422)