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Frauenkirche Dresden. Organ music by Bach & Duruflé

The world premiere recording on the new Kern organ of the Dresden Frauenkirche
Samuel Kummer plays music by Bach & Duruflé.
Coproduction: Stiftung Frauenkirche Dresden, MDR, Carus
Carus 83.188 (SACD), 17.90 €
Release: 1.11.2005

Super-Audio-CD: 6 channel Surround recording. Can be played on standard CD or SACD player.

The organ at the Frauenkirche Dresden
The organist: Samuel Kummer
Music from Dresden at Carus

After twelve years of construction, the reconstructed Dresden Frauenkirche will be festively dedicated on 30 October 2005. Few organ building projects have been followed with such interest and excitement as the reconstruction of the new organ at the Frauenkirche Dresden. The organ case, like the structure of the church, was designed by George Bähr, and during the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche it was constructed in every detail in accordance with that of the Gottfried Silbermann organ, which was built in 1736 and destroyed in 1945. However, the internal workings of the organ are not simply a reconstruction of the Silbermann organ. Daniel Kern, the organ builder from Strasbourg, followed the “classical” disposition of the Silbermann organ but he also added an additional manual in the French romantic style. The Kern organ unites the numerous advantages of an historical organ with the technical advances of a modern concert instrument.

Through a program on this first CD recording rich in contrasts of style, featuring music by Bach and Duruflè, Samuel Kummer, the organist of the Frauenkirche, demonstrates the astounding sonorous versatility of this organ.

On 1 December 1736, shortly after the completion and initial presentation of the Silbermann organ, Johann Sebastian Bach gave an organ recital in the Dresden Frauenkirche to publicly give thanks for the title of Royal Polish and Electoral Saxon Court Composer which had been conferred upon him. Unfortunately we do not know what music Bach played, or whether he improvised on that occasion. For the present recording works were chosen especially suited to the new Kern organ and which would bring to life the sound and acoustics of the Frauenkirche. Maurice Duruflé (1902–1986) derived his musical language from the French tradition; it is carried by a well-polished compositional technique and marked by gentle melancholy. For his Suite op. 5 (1934) Duruflé had in mind for the performance of this work a grand symphonic organ of the Cavaillé-Coll type. His indications for registration point towards the Orgue néoclassique, in which radiant mixtures are heard especially to advantage. This style is also a characteristic for the new organ of the Frauenkirche.


The organ of the Dresden Frauenkirche

The new organ of the Dresden Frauenkirche is a testimony to the age which has seen the completion of the great work of reconstruction, and it adds a new tone to the organ landscape of Saxony. With regard to tonal language, it is outstandingly well suited to the presentation of a broad spectrum of organ music, dating from the 17th to the 20th century. Neither a mere returning to the past, nor a denial of historical identity were intended in the construction of this instrument.

The organ case, like the structure of the church, was designed by George Bähr, and during the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche the organ case was constructed in every detail in accordance with that of the Gottfried Silbermann organ, which was built in 1736 and destroyed in 1945.

The instrument is, structurally and tonally, in decisive respects (including wind supply from six bellows, internal layout and intonation), closely based on the Silbermann organ. It has, however, been modified to meet contemporary requirements. Daniel Kern, from Strasbourg, who has built the new instrument, has drawn on the historic links between Gottfried and Andreas Silbermann, and between Saxon and French-Alsatian organ building, with this synthesis creating a bridge to modern organ construction. Daniel Kern has used the “classical” disposition with “Hauptwerk,” “Oberwerk,” and “Brustwerk,” closely based on Silbermann, adding a further swell manual clearly in the French romantic style. In order to equalize the proportions of the disposition of the manuals and the pedal board, three registers have been added to the pedal disposition.

The Kern organ combines numerous virtues of a historic organ with technical advantages of a modern concert instrument. Thus an organ has been created which meets both the new and the historic requirements for church music in the Frauenkirche. A program rich in stylistic contrasts demonstrates the amazing tonal versatility of this organ.

(Horst Hodick, from the CD booklet)


Samuel Kummer

Samuel Kummer was born in Stuttgart in 1968. After receiving his diploma from the lycée he studied church music at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart. In the organ classes of Christoph Bossert, Werner Jacob and Ludger Lohmann he acquired a broad repertoire of music in many styles, which is complemented by his ability in the field of organ improvisation (he studied improvisation with Willibald Bezler, Wolfgang Seifen and Hans Martin Corrinth). During his studies he took part in many master classes. Upon his graduation in 1997 he received an award for organ improvisation.

Since 1988 Samuel Kummer has given organ recitals in Germany and elsewhere, appearing in such countries as the Netherlands, the Baltic states, Poland, Hungary, the USA and Central America. He has played in important concert series such as the European Organ Festival at Maastricht, the International Bach Festival at Warsaw, and in Riga Cathedral. During the summer of 2003 he accepted an invitation to Utah State University; in Salt Lake City he gave organ recitals in the Mormon Tabernacle and an improvisation seminar for organists and pianists. In 2005 he appeared again at the Cathedral in Guatemala City, where he had played in 1999 in aid of the restoration and upkeep of the historic Walcker organ of 1937.

Samuel Kummer is a prizewinner at international organ competitions. In 1996 he won the 1st prize at the “Concours L’Europe et L’Orgue” at Maastricht. From 1998 until June 2005 he was the district choirmaster at the Martinskirche, Kirchheim/Teck. As well as directing numerous oratorio performances there (concluding with Frank Martin’s In terra pax), in 2000 he gave a complete performance of the organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach. In December 2004 Samuel Kummer was appointed organist of the Frauenkirche, Dresden, where he assumed his new position in July 2005.

Photographs (CD booklet): Jörg Schöner, Dresden

Frauenkirche Dresden
MDR - Information on the Dresden Frauenkirche

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