The Arp Schnitger organ in St. Ludger’s Church in Norden numbers among the most important baroque instruments of its kind and has remained practically unchanged over the centuries. In addition, the organ’s unique and complex resonance into various church spaces makes every recording a special challenge. On what is now their third SACD Agnes Luchterhandt and Thiemo Janssen present “their instrument” with a highly appealing and representative program sequence quite literally showing the instrument from all its best sides. They obtain superb support from the outstanding room-related 2+2+2 reproduction enabling the instrument and the space to be experienced in genuine three-dimensional sound.
What a genial solution! The greatRead more organ, middle pipes, and choir organ resonate diagonally into the crossing, and the pedal division into the Romanesque great organ, and the upper unit into the Gothic choir. No wonder that Bach was enthusiastic about Northern German organ design and the organ works of Buxtehude, Samuel Scheidt, and Georg Böhm.
Mozart’s famous variations on “Ah, vous dirais-je, maman” then offer a surprise. Agnes Luchterhandt avails herself of these magical variations in order to take us through the characteristic registers – a guided organ tour of a special kind and a welcome expansion of the classical repertoire, which can be presented surprisingly well in Norden.
But the first surprise occurs right at the beginning of the SACD. “Brande champan-je,” a dance song from the sixteenth century, is performed true to the original in a version for two organists with percussion. The original drum stop is no longer extant on today’s organ; a Calcant whose work today is done by the organ motor substitutes for it.