WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org
Welcome to ArkivMusic, the retail store for classical.net!

Eben: A Festive Voluntary, Etc / Halgeir Schiager

Release Date: 08/09/2005 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67197   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Petr Eben
Performer:  Halgeir Schiager
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

Back Order: Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This music and its performance amply demonstrate Petr Eben?s virtues?a quietly consoling religiosity, a respect for past musical traditions, and an unfettered, indeed often Messiaenic (the apparent misspelling is intentional), fervor that brings those traditions into new and refreshing musical realms.

Petr Eben was born in 1929 in ?amberk, Czechoslovakia. As a youngster, he studied piano and organ. During the Second World War, he was imprisoned in Buchenwald. After his liberation, he resumed his studies, ultimately becoming a revered teacher in several major Czech musical institutions, and a renowned Read more performer?especially in the execution of his own virtuosically demanding keyboard music. An accomplished master of the now virtually extinct art of improvisation, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of London?s Royal College of Organists in 2000.

Eben?s harmonic language is tonal, but his often-bold harmonic juxtapositions push the envelope. His exploitation of the organ?s coloristic possibilities, mastery of effective figuration, and deployment of quirky rhythmic patterns enliven this music. This is indeed difficult stuff to play. Organists lacking the n th degree of chops need not apply. The first track on this release? A Festive Voluntary , a set of variations on Good King Wenceslas (composed in 1986), neatly sums up his technical and esthetic approach to music in a nominally eight-minute nutshell.

The composer provides informative notes as to who commissioned some of the works and for what occasion they were written. Interestingly, the two Chorale Fantasies were composed in 1972 at the request of the Prague Spring Festival of that year for test pieces from which competitors in the 1972 International Organ Competition could choose. The Protestant Chorales of 2000 is a 23-minute study in the art of organ improvisation, in this case oxymoronically encased in the amber of notation. Eben?s little essay on the prerequisites of improvisation are as illuminating as is this exquisite music. I found Sunday Music of 1957?08 particularly gratifying. A 27-minute essay based on the Gregorian setting of Ite Missa est and on Gregorian-like themes of his own invention, it, like the Protestant Chorales , is the most accessible music on this release?but in this case, an all stops pulled virtuoso blow out.

Swedish organist Halgeir Schiager has the requisite chops and sails through this technically problematical music both effortlessly and with probing insight. The instrument used?The organ of Hedvig Eleonora Kyrkan, Stockholm?was built in 1975?76 by Grönlunds Orgelbyggeri, Gimmelstad, partly using old pipe material from 1868, 1908, and 1948. From the sound of it, sometimes the old is better. This is a sweet instrument, powerful where need be, and truly colorful.

The recording is fine?resonant enough to convey the presence of the instrument?s pedal tones, and precise enough to convey the precision of Schiager?s exemplary articulation along with the colors of Eben?s required stop changes. Full organ specs are provided.

Recommended for all organists and aficionados.

FANFARE: William Zagorski
Read less

Works on This Recording

A Festive Voluntary by Petr Eben
Performer:  Halgeir Schiager (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986; Czech Republic 
Chorale Fantasias (2) for Organ by Petr Eben
Performer:  Halgeir Schiager (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; Czech Republic 
Sonntagsmusik by Petr Eben
Performer:  Halgeir Schiager (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Czechoslovakia 
Amen, es werde wahr by Petr Eben
Performer:  Halgeir Schiager (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993; Czech Republic 
Protestant Chorales (12) for Organ by Petr Eben
Performer:  Halgeir Schiager (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2000 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title