Gronau - Chorale Variations for Organ
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Label: Brilliant Classics
Cat No: 94843
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 24th February 2014
WorksEin feste Burg ist unser Gott
Es wird schier der letzte Tag
Gott hat das Evangelium
Mitten wir im Leben sind
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan
ArtistsMatteo Venturini (organ)
"The finest musical soul ever to have graced the city of Danzig": these are the words of Friedrich Gottlieb Gleimann, written in regard to his predecessor Daniel Magnus Gronau. Little is known about Gronau's life, other than he was titular organist at St John's Church in Danzig, where he earned an exceptionally high salary - 100 florins per quarter. His music was highly acclaimed in its day. After his death, the Chapter of St John's bought the manuscript of a cycle of chorale variations for organ from his sister, paying a third as much again to have it handsomely bound in two volumes.
Gronau left a small treatise on transposition and four books of keyboard music, the Chorale Variations of which form the subject of this engaging release. Similarly structured and containing between two and five variations (the first of which normally utilises the chorale as a fugue subject), the works reveal the far more 'modern' approach adopted by Gronau compared with the rest of his northern contemporaries - Es wird schier der letzte Tag, for example, requires the right hand to play on two keyboards against a continuo-like accompaniment in the left hand and pedals.
The Variations certainly represent one of the most extensive compendiums of organ registrations to survive from the late Baroque period of organ music in Germany, and on hand to perform is Matteo Venturini, winner of no less than eight competitions and a regular at prestigious international music festivals across Europe and America. Venturini, with his thesis on Gronau's organ music, is clearly an expert in this field of repertoire. Here, on his 13th recording, he reveals the sheer quality of this composer's music, making a strong case for why the Danzig genius is worthy of rediscovery and re-evaluation.
Played on the Glauco Ghilardi organ, Church of San Rocco, Larciano, Pistoia (Italy).
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