Dominating the disc are the (13) Variations and Fuge on an Original Theme by Max Reger that precedes the Tanke by almost 100 years. The theme is preceded by a slow introduction (a fantasy) that lasts for about 20% of the overall length of the composition; Reger was clearly a bit harsh on this opening section not to include it in the title! Tanke convincingly builds the climaxes as they occur and copes well with the dense textures, using good registrations to clarify these as far as possible. He sensibly chose the Adema organ (1923) in St. Bavo Kathedralem, Haarlem which marries beauty, power with a fine acoustic for this music.
The pairing, is as seems to be more common with organists than other musicians, a composition by the performer. The Two Wind-Fantasias for organ (2002) by Tanke are performed on two more organs: the first on the Marcussen organ (1959) situated as a Seitenschifforgel in Sint Laurenskerk, Rotterdam; the second on it's big brother, the Marcussen organ (1973) which is Sint Laurenskerk's main instrument or Hauptorgel. The first contains some seemingly impossible sounds (I am not an expert in playing the organ so am continually fascinated by the percussive textures employed here) over a meditative backdrop. The second also has some wonderfully percussive effects but employs them over a wider range of frequencies (the first is pretty stratospheric stuff) and one can feel the introduction of the deeper pedals registration. A more contrasting piece with rhythmic and stationary motifs juxtaposing themselves, the second fantasy also recalls elements of the first and a very, what I can only describe as, "quaint" coda.
The sound is very good indeed, capturing the relative positions of the pipes with real clarity whilst retaining the ambience of the acoustic. This must be close to ideal for an organ recording. The MCH mix reflects the differing positions (including split boxes in front, to the side and behind the listener as required).
As always, the comprehensive notes (including details of the voicing of the organs) from Cybele are wonderful - especially as this set contains the following sentence:
'All new Cybele recordings will be released as "hybrid" SACDs, currently the best sound carrier available.'
Excellent news, mainly but not exclusively for all fans of contemporary classical music.
Reger, Max (1873-1916)
Tanke, Willem (b.1959)
Reger: Variations and Fugue on an original theme in F sharp minor, Op. 73
Tanke: Two Wind fantasies