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Leo van Doeselaar

5 Stars in 'Musik und Kirche', nine points in 'Luister'

Amsterdam, Tue, 8. Feb 2005 — In the Dutch magazines 'de Orgelvriend' and 'Luister' as well as in the German magazine 'Musik und Kirche' Van Doeselaar's new CD with 19th century organ music has met with great approval.
In Dutch magazine ‘De Orgelvriend’ of September 2005 editor-in-chief Gerco Schaap has selected ‘Organum Dominicum’ as his favourite CD of the month. He praises the dynamic and energetic performance of Reger’s Sonata, and the imaginative execution of ‘Legende’ by Gerard Bunk. “The passionate performance by Van Doeselaar of the Fuga by De Lange,” he writes, “argues strongly in favour of the work of this somewhat underrated composer. Also on a standard CD-player the SACD sounds brilliantly. For lovers of the German-Dutch romantic organ repertoire this CD is a must.”

In a recent issue of the German magazine 'Musik und Kirche' Van Doeselaar's interpretation of organ music by Dutch and German composers is considered first rate. Critic Martin Weyer greatly appreciates the choice of the programme, with works by Dutch composers having worked in Germany or Austria and German composers who were highly esteemed in the Netherlands, the conception leading to new discoveries like Brandt-Buys' impressive 'Patria' from 1912. Reger's 2nd Sonata op 60 is performed outstandingly and without conceit. Brahms' endlessly sad Fugue in A flat minor remains one of the central compositions of the Romantic organ music of the 19th century. The final surprise of this remarkable CD is De Lange's 5th Sonata, a solid and expertly composed work.
The CD is rewarded with five stars for interpretation, recording and instrument, but only two for the booklet, which is rather defective in information on the composers and works at issue. For additional information, however, see www.northwestrecords.com/recordings/library and the commentary by Van Doeselaar below.

In the February 2005 issue of the Dutch music magazine 'Luister' critic R.V. writes equally favourably on the CD 'Organum Dominicum', with music by Dutch and German composers performed on the colossal Sauer organ in the Berlin Cathedral.
"Monumental sounds contrast with extremely refined registrations. The 'dark colours' and the quiet chorale of 'Vom Himmel hoch' in the second part of Reger's Sonata is a feast for the ear. Despite the enormous space of the church the sound remains transparent and expressive."

In the Organists' Review of May 2005 Roger Fisher writes: "The Sauer organ in Berlin Dom sounds quite incredibly beautiful on this SACD recording and it is most persuasively played by Leo van Doeselaar. [...] These pieces should be much better known! [...] I hope that Van Doeselaar makes many more recordings for this company and on this superb instrument - it's a combination of virtues which is scarcely likely to be bettered!"

HOLLAND - GERMANY: Van Doeselaar on his new CD

In 2004 this title more resembles an announcement of a soccer game rather than a reference to a cultural connection between two countries. But the latter is indeed the case, since the organ and its music in both countries share a common heritage and sensibility. Organ builders, composers and organists from both countries exchanged many ideas and impulses which closely followed the ups and downs of the economic environment in which they lived and worked.
"When the possibility arose for me to record on one of the largest organs in Germany, the 1905 Wilhelm Sauer organ in the Cathedral of Berlin," says Van Doeselaar, "my immediate idea was to use this historical connection as a thread of continuity for the programming of these pieces. I myself am a typical example of this connection: a 'Dutchman' performing and teaching at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, and all the Dutch composers whose work is performed on this disc, too, lived and worked almost exclusively in Germany.
Although Samuel de Lange junior is a typical example of the more traditional Leipzig school of composition, his colleagues Brandts Buys en Bunk show contemporary influences in their compositions. Especially Bunk, who was organist of the large Walcker organ in the Rheinoldi church in Dortmund utilized many of the potential sonic possibilities available to him on 'his' instrument in the composition and registration of the 'Legende'.
Brahms en Reger were greatly admired in Holland and they often performed and conducted their compositions in Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague. Both Bunk en de Lange were well acquainted with Reger, while de Lange and Brandts Buys were great admirers of Johannes Brahms with whom they regularly exchanged letters.
The pieces composed by this Dutch 'band of brothers', recorded in the Berlin Cathedral, give a good overview of the various traditional and modern influences that Holland and Germany underwent in this period of the High Romantic, fin de siecle musical culture."