“Bach and the Lutheran Legacy” and
“Female Organists and Composers”
20-29 October, 2017

French Crescendo and German Diminuendo: Character and Context in 19th-Century European Organ Art

The theme of this year’s Academy enables you to explore the very different soundscapes of the French and German organ culture in the nineteenth century, both with respect to instruments and repertoire.

Thematically grouped, various elements of expression will be studied in the master class sessions taught by Joris Verdin and Ludger Lohmann, and devoted to either French or German repertoire:

– Slurs in Mendelssohn’s organ music
– Dynamics & Phrasing: in works by Franck, Widor, Liszt, Brahms, and Schumann
– Touch & Phrasing before and after 1870: in works by Lefébure-Wely, and Franck

Other topics will be:
– German organ schools and performance practice in the early 19th century
– A world of ideas behind 19th-century organ music: focusing on works by Lemmens, Franck, Widor, Reger and Karg-Elert

Some of the master classes will start with an introduction or lecture-demonstration and continue with a case study of related pieces or composer(s).

A very important means of expression in nineteenth-century organs is the swell box. Whereas the French focus on the fortissimo features of the swell, the Germans choose to focus on its diminuendo and echo possibilities. These contrasting functions of the swell boxes (leaving their remaining resources unhampered), the different tone colors of the flue stops, the free reeds of the German instruments, are all elements that you can explore and enjoy through the available organs: the “Rune Wåhlberg Organ” at Artisten (a French Symphonic instrument, built by Verschueren, 1998), the 1861 Marcussen cone valve chest organ in Haga Church, and the 1909 Eskil Lundén organ in the Vasa Church, inspired by Wilhelm Sauer’s fin de siècle sound concept.