Mendelssohn, a virtuoso pianist and organist, a master of the art of orchestration, of choral and orchestral conducting, passes from anguish to exaltation, from nostalgia – even melancholy – to an exuberant march, from the gravity of a chorale and the rigours of a fugue to an effervescent prestissimo. The tranquillity of an andante responds to the fire of an allegro; the serenity of a Lutheran hymn brings peace to questioning and torment.
All this awaits discovery in the sonatas if we can only delve beneath the surface of a beautiful melody or a well-wrought fugue.
Why do we have so often the impression that there is a rift between Mendelssohn’s organ music and the rest of his oeuvre? A composer does not change radically simply because he changes instrument! The question is, therefore, how best to convey Mendelssohn’s vital emotion, which undeniably lies just behind the music’s apparent restraint?
The organist Susan Landale finds her reply in the organs of Buchholz. For, while Mendelssohn was certainly familiar with these instruments, it is above all their rich and transparent sound – warm and singing in the pianos, majestic but never brutal in the fortes, - which convinced her as being the best servants of the multiple facets of this music.
The choice of instrument for each sonata came almost naturally : the majestic dimensions of Stralsund have all the requisite scope for the first and sixth; Barth, with the purity of its singing tone and the clarity of its sound, lends itself perfectly to the second and fifth; Demmin, perhaps the most “romantic” of the three instruments but always clear and in an admirable acoustic, seems to be the ideal partner for the darkness and light of the third sonata, and the energy and poetry of the fourth.
The anguish, the energy and poetry of these six sonatas find their echo in the landscapes of Mecklemburg which so inspired Caspar David Friedrich; their luminous skies already fading towards a Brahmsian dusk.
“No other version renders such justice to the elegance of these six sonatas, to the processing of their counterpoint and the construction of their melodies, in an interpretation which, thanks to the warmth of sound and rhythmical integrity, is never arid. Faultless energy and corresponding technique give impact to the fast movements; the first sonata, not everyone’s favourite, benefits from this in particular. Lastly, the sharing out of the sonatas on the three instruments respects the principle of symmetry and underlines the cyclical element of the opus.”
“The interpretation is distinguished by its finesse and detached elegance.
Susan Landale’s playing has the lightness of a murmured song, avoiding all over-effusiveness in the more serious moments. Often we find ourselves in the realm of intimacy, but never that of sentimentality.
The magic is due largely to a real coherence of timbre, a truly romantic aesthetic that is both deep and warm, and an articulation of perfect clarity.”
L'orgue Buchholz (1821-1896)
Pédalier de l'orgue Buchholz
Orgue Buchholz-Grüneberg (1819-1868)
Claviers de l'orgue Buchholz-Grüneberg