GMCD 7137 – German Romanticism I – Music by Julius Reubke

Jeremy Filsell – Piano / Organ

To the CD in our Shop

The Organ Vol 76 No. 301 Summer 1997

Few musicians feel confident enough on two instruments to entrust themselves to recordings and when the works in question are by Reubke it takes a bold artist indeed to place the piano and organ sonatas alongside each other in GMCD 7137. That they are both highly successful is a tribute to the communicative powers and technical skill of Jeremy Filsell.
As I seem to be hearing more Reubke in performance these days I assume that, he is becoming more popular which may make this new recording all the more timely. The only minor flaw is a purely technical one as each sonata is recorded as a single slab with no way of returning easily to particular sections should one wish to do so.
Any reservations I might have had about using the Kleis in St John’s, Smith Square, are proved groundless by the quality of sound produced on both recordings, which is remarkably clear and lively.
The works on GMCD 7136 are even more welcome as one so rarely gets a chance to hear them live. Dupré’s G minor Symphony is a splendid work which uses the organ as a balanced integral part of his overall composition and shows a remarkably fine ear for orchestral colour and detail.
Joseph Gilles has left us only the E major Symphony which is a deeply serious work, often quietly intense, and very moving.
Jeanne Demessieux’s poème sounds the more modern of the works included but was actually written in I949. This is a very valuable addition to the catalogue.

Classic CD February 1998

Marcel Dupré’s Symphonie pour orgue et orchestre turns out to be a not especially attractive work: it has a fine slow movement, to be sure, but both the opening movements are melodically undistinctive and rhythmically rather monotonous and unvaried. The Symphonie for solo organ by Dupré’s contemporary Joseph Gilles (the only published composition of a composer who died in mysterious circumstances during World War Two) is a much more interesting and atmospheric piece; but again a certain aesthetic immaturity shows through in the juxtaposition of two not terribly dissimilar slow movements at the beginning of the work.
The performances are very good, but this is ultimately a disc for organ specialists.
Terry Blain