Handel - Organ Concertos; Tchaikovsky - Children’s Album; Saint-Saens - Carnival of the Animals | Bel Air Music BAM2002

Handel - Organ Concertos; Tchaikovsky - Children’s Album; Saint-Saens - Carnival of the Animals


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Label: Bel Air Music

Cat No: BAM2002

Barcode: 5705604020021

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 22nd December 2008



Ekaterina Melnikova (organ)
Moscow Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra


Dmitry Yablonsky


Handel, George Frideric

Organ Concertos (6), op.4 HWV289-294
» no.5 in F major, HWV293
» no.6 in B flat major, HWV294
Organ Concertos (6), op.7 HWV306-311
» no.1 in B flat major, HWV306

Saint-Saens, Camille

Carnival of the Animals (arr. organ)

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich

Album for the Young, op.39 (arr. for organ)


Ekaterina Melnikova (organ)
Moscow Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra


Dmitry Yablonsky


Handel’s Organ Concerto in B flat, op.7 no.1, the first of these posthumously published concertos, written mainly between 1740 and 1750, is in the grand style. In the first movement the organ pedal makes its first appearance in works of this genre. The first two movements are based on the same ground bass, presented first in common time and then in triple time, and forming the foundation for variations of a simple though effective kind. The third movement, the Largo is again constructed on a recurring bass linked with the organ. The Bourrée is unashamedly light-hearted.

The Organ Concerto in F major, op.4 no.5, was not originally written for organ. It is a reworking of the eleventh flute sonata of opus 1. It shows its origin in the dance-form in the Siciliana and Presto movements and in the near dance character of the other two, each of which begins with a virtual double exposition of the opening theme, once for the orchestra and again on the organ. Although, in some ways, this may invalidate the concerto as a work for organ, Handel’s second thoughts are obviously effective to the listener.

The Organ Concerto in B flat major, op.4 no.6, is one of the two concertos in the three-movement style of Vivaldi and Scarlatti, and the only one in that form for which Händel wrote out all the movements. In the original score it appears for harp or organ or, as Hawkins maintained, it could be a transcription of a recorder sonata written for one of Handel’s friends. An unusual feature is that the upper strings are directed to play with mutes and the lower ones to play pizzicato in the opening – a rare direction in Händel.

Tchaikovsky’s music, primarily for orchestra and the stage, is especially esteemed for its melodic skill, the dark cast of its harmonies and orchestration and the use of Russian folk melody. His works includes many operas, ballets, symphonies, tone poems, overtures, piano concertos, a violin concerto, choral works, string quartets, piano works and, last but not least, his songs. On this album we present the first-ever recording of his work Children’s Album transcribed for organ by the talented concert organist Ekaterina Melnikova.

Camille Saint-Saëns is best remembered for his opera Samson et Dalila (1877) and for Le Carnaval des Animaux (1886), a trifle he wrote in a few days and which he suppressed during his lifetime. In this zoological fantasy, Saint-Säens illustrate with humour, through the sound of various animals such as “le lion, l’éléphant, tortues”, his perfect knowledge of the instruments and their potential in an effective and original way. On this album we present the first-ever recording of Le Carnaval des Animaux in transciption for organ by Ekaterina Melnikova. Her transcription translates brilliantly the humour and originality of the pieces and make the organ perform, with the various voices, as a great orchestra.

International concert organist Ekaterina Melnikova has a reputation for her outstanding technique and inspired performances.  In 1999 she was a prize-winner in the first Tariverdiev International Organ Competition, in Kaliningrad and received the title of Laureate. During her early studies at the Moscow Central Music School she won the first prize in the Concertino-Prague international competition.  In 1996, after studying organ, chamber music and musical theory at the Moscow Conservatory, Ms. Melnikova began advanced post-graduate studies with Nicholas Danby, David Titterington and Naji Hakim at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She now continues to study with Dame Gillian Weir. Ms. Melnikova has given recitals in Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Estonia, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain and France. She has performed in famous churches such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.

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