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The Organ of Joachim Wagner in Siedlce II

Ireneusz Wyrwa, organ

rec: April 2013, Siedlce, Bishop of Siedlce Residence
Dux - 0971 (© 2013) (21'30")
Liner-notes: E/D/P
Cover & track-list

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788): Sonata in F (Wq 70,3 / H 84); Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750): Partite diverse sopra Sei gegrüßet, Jesu gütig (BWV 768) (var. 1-6); Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835): Sonata per Organo in G; Antonio DE CABEZÓN (1510-1566): Pavana con su glosa; Christian ERBACH (1570-1635): Canzon in C; Felice MORETTI (Padre Davide da Bergamo) (1791-1863): Suonatina in C; Bernardo PASQUINI (1637-1710): Toccata con lo Scherzo del Cucco; Johann Adam REINCKEN (1643-1722): Fugue in g minor; Michelangelo ROSSI (1602-1656): Toccata VII [1]; Bernardo STORACE (c1620-c1664): Ballo della Battaglia [2]; Domenico ZIPOLI (1688-1726): Al Post Comunio [3]

Sources: [1] Michelangelo Rossi, Toccate e correnti, [n.d. (1630s)]; [2] Bernardo Storace, Selva di varie compositioni d’intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo, 1664; [3] Domenico Zipoli, Sonate d’intavolatura, 1716

This is the second disc devoted to the organ which is situated in the residence of the Bishop of Siedlce in Poland. The builder was Joachim Wagner (1690-1749) from Brandenburg who probably was a pupil of Matthäus Hartmann, himself a pupil of Arp Schnitger. Unfortunately many of his organs have been destroyed or unrecognizably changed. Some of the best-known Wagner organs are those in the Nidarosdom in Trondheim (Norway) and in St Marien in Angermünde (Germany). Therefore the identification of the present organ as another instrument by this builder was a major event.

Its importance was all the greater as this is the only extant instrument with a so-called windchest with double transmission (Doppeltransmissionslade). This makes possible the transmission of registers between the manuals. It is called 'double' because the registers were assigned in an equal measure to several sections of the instrument. Wagner is considered the inventor of this system. The inscription on the manual windchest of the organ of the Heilig-Geist-Kirche in Potsdam (1730; not preserved) bears witness to that: "[This] is the fifth organ built after this new invention of his (...)".

It is not known for which venue the organ was originally built. It has two manuals but no pedal. That suggests that it was built for domestic use rather than a church. The possibilities are enlarged by the simultaneous division of both manuals into bass and descant. In about 1791 this organ was placed in St Benno's Church in Warsaw. In 1808 it was purchased by Helena Chrapowicka for the church of Pruszyn which was then under construction. From 1824 to 1968 it was at the church's gallery. It was then dismantled and its elements were stored in the attic above the church vestry until 2002. The organ is now restored and reconstructed. It has been placed in the main hall of the residence of the bishop of Siedlce, where it is used for public concerts.

The booklets of this and of the previous disc include the disposition, but don't give any information about the pitch and tuning of the organ. It seems that it is tuned in equal temperament or a tuning close to it, because the quirky harmonic progressions in the Toccata VII by Michelangelo Rossi are not as spicy as on an instrument in meantone temperament. Moreover, if the tuning had been different the 19th-century pieces would hardly have been playable.

The choice of repertoire is a little disappointing. Most pieces are rather well-known and available in various recordings. The choice of the Sonata in F by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach is particularly odd as it was also recorded by Wolfgang Zerer on the first disc. The 19th-century pieces by Italian composers bear witness to the secularisation of organ music at that time as they show strong influence of contemporary opera. It is not the kind of music I would like to hear, and it is unlikely that this sort of repertoire has ever been played on this particular organ. It is unlucky that Bach's partita Sei gegrüßet, Jesu gütig is performed incomplete.

Ireneusz Wyrwa plays quite well. I like the liberties he takes in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's sonata and the ornaments he adds. However, in the first movement he tends a little to playing staccato. It is mainly the choice of repertoire which I find disappointing. Therefore this disc is mainly attractive to those especially interested in historical organs.

Johan van Veen (© 2014)

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