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Reviews: Mannheim Marvel - Johannes Michel

Reviews: 1

Review by sacd-fan April 3, 2012 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
The Mannheim Marvel – a marvellous recording

This recording features a very special and rare organ type: On one hand it is one of the few remaining big organs of german romantic type. Many big instruments had been destroyed in the second world war or “restaurated” to come closer to the contemporary taste. The Mannheim organ of Christuskirche built by Steinmeyer, survived 100 years with only minor changes and damages.
But this is not the only speciality about it. Due to the construction time (1911) and the near to France the stops include some typical french romantic voices, which was not too typical for german organs of that era. And 1911 was already a point in time, where organbuilders turned a little more towards baroque voices, which can also be found in the instrument.
Together with its building the Christuskirche, the organ still resembles the original arrangement.
The room of the cupola church is not too big and the echo is warm (on the contrary to a concert hall) but not as impressive as a gothic style cathedral. That is exactly what you find on the recording conservated in a perfect manner. The main organ is audible mostly on the front speakers, the “Fernwerk”, which is installed in the top of the cupola can be heard on the rear speakers.

The selection of the tracks was made with regard to a relation with the instruments or at least to Arno Landmann the first organist at Chrsituskirche. The pieces do not contain really bombastic works, but – which is more important to demonstrate the instrument – many voices are displayed. And there are many of them. You will even hear some surprise in the first track.
The organ is played by the current organist of Christuskirche, who knows the capabilities of his instrument very well.

The recording in combination with the selected tracks gives a very realistic overview of the feeling generated by a organ of german romantic style.
I heard the original instrument several times, when I studied in Mannheim about 10 years ago. And know it is possible to reproduce this sound in my living room – great. Hope for more recordings of that instrument and quality.
By the way: Also the 2CH tracks are very nice!

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