Concert for Harp and Organ
Concert for Harp & Organ
Olja Kaiser (Harp) & Ulrike Northoff (Organ)
plays works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Josef Blanco,
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Isaak Albeniz, Marcel Samuel-Rousseau,
J.Rodrigo, Pearl Chertok and Jean-Michel Damase
A concert recording from the Castle Church in Bad Homburg (Germany)
HD Recording · DDD · c. 60 Minutes
he Great Buergy Organ of 1787 in Bad Homburg Castle Church dates back to those eventful times at the end of the 18th century. At that time, there lived in the little town of Homburg, seat of the Landgraves, a superb organ maker from Switzerland by the name of Johann Conrad Buergy (1721 - 1792). He received a commission from the Protestant-Lutheran Church Convent to build what was to be his greatest masterpiece. With 38 stops distributed over three manuals and pedals, this organ is a magnificent example of Central German organ building in the style documented as being preferred by Johann Sebastian Bach because of its distinctive sound. The effulgence of the organ takes on something of the Northern German tradition without neglecting the tonic keynotes found in Southern German organ building.
With its many registers, the organ offers a wide variety of wonderfully different sounds, ranging from exquisite solo voices of remarkable colour to a majestic tutti with striking bass tones. It is therefore equally suited to interpreting Baroque or Pre-Baroque works, classical compositions or selected pieces from the Romantic era, or indeed, even modern music. An unusual feature of the organ is its echo chamber: the wind chests and the pipes of this section of the instrument are hidden in the lower part of the organ housing, so that the tones are not directed straight into the church, but diverted though various byways, thus sounding remote and almost echo-like - an effect very popular in Baroque music, which was later continued with the remote consoles of Romantic organs.
The impressive sound is accompanied by opulent visuals: the artistic back-drop of pipes, which fills the entire rear space above the first gallery right up to under the church ceiling, forms a striking counterpart to the choir section facing it, framed by two rows of windows. These bathe the interior of the church in a warm glow of light that was nearly lost in the course of the changing history of the castle. For, with the dwindling influence of the Landgraves, the organ rapidly fell into disrepair. After only 90 years, its use was discontinued and it was later dismantled. All that remained were the housing and the bellows and - for a short time - the tin flue pipes, until these were melted down during the 1st World War. However, 200 years after its commemoration, two lucky coincidences made it possible to restore the organ to its original glory: Johann Conrad Buergy had a journeyman by the name of Johann Georg Foerster, who was to become one of the founders of Foerster & Nicolaus, the world-renowned and respected Hesse firm of organ builders. Buergy's knowledge of the art of organ making has been handed down in this company until today. In the 1980s, the devoted citizens of Bad Homburg who were members of the Board of Trustees of the Bad Homburg Castle Church succeeded in having not just the church building restored to its original splendour, but the Great Buergy Organ of 1789 as well. And what could have been more natural than to entrust this demanding task to Foerster & Nicolaus, who duly completed it in 1989?
Today you can admire the organ in all its glory - as one of the few remaining testimonies to the style of organ building in the classical era. Its distinctive sound and remarkably broad range have been captured fully on this CD.
lja Kaiser began to study the harp at the age of 5. She completed her studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, where she graduated with distinction. Olja furthered her professional abilities participating in master classes given by Isabelle Perrin, David Watkins, Susanna Mildonian, Chantal Mathieu and Isabelle Moretti. She also learned baroque harp playing at the Scola Cantorum Basiliensis (Basel). In her youth she was already appearing internationally as a soloist and in chamber music recitals. Olja Kaiser has won prizes in the Concorso Internazionale Premio Rovere d'Oro in San Bartolomeo al Mare in Imperia (Italy) and the Concert Artists Guild Music Competition in New York. In addition to appearing in festivals (e.g. Pacific Music Festival, Abu Dhabi Classical Music Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival, Moselfestwochen, Mecklenburgischer Musiksommer, Musikwoche Bad Wörishofen, Rheingau Musikfestival), Olja Kaiser has toured throughout Europe, the United States, Japan, China and Hongkong. Olja Kaiser regularly plays in solo concerts with symphony orchestras and chamber orchestras including the Moscow State Chamber Orchestra, the Cologne Youth Philharmonic and the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic. She was engaged as the principal harpist in the Gorky Philharmonic Orchestra, the Moscow Great Hall Symphony, the Bolshoi Ballet Orchestra, the Philharmonia Hungarika and at the Apollo Theater in Stuttgart, prior to pursuing her solo career. Miss Kaiser is regularly invited to perform as principal harpist with many symphony and chamber orchestras, e.g.: Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, West German Radio Symphony Orchestra Köln, Moscow Radio 1 Symphony Orchestra, Bolshoi Theater Ballet, Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz, Radio Symphony Orchestra Saarbrücken, Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester, Mannheim, Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz. Her experience playing in opera and ballet orchestras in Germany includes the following opera houses: Mannheim, Darmstadt, Saarbrücken, Freiburg, Koblenz, Kaiserslautern and Heidelberg. She has been an assistant to Prof. O. Erdely at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, she has taught at the Prokofiev Music School in Moscow and at a conservatory in Luxembourg. She was a member of the jury for the German competition "Jugend musiziert". Due to her many worldwide appearances as solo harpist as well as in chamber music recitals, including radio and television recordings, Olja Kaiser is one of the most active and many facetted harpists of her generation.
lrike Northoff, the internationally active concert organist, received her training at the School for Church Music in Esslingen near Stuttgart. After being awarded her diploma in church music, she continued her music education by specialising in organ studies at the Heidelberg School for Church Music. At the same time, she was actively participating in numerous master classes held by prominent organists (Prof. Bossert, Prof. Radulescu, Prof. Ruebsam). Since then, she has taken up an active concert career, performing on historical and modern organs in major churches all over Europe. She has given solo recitals in places such as the Marien-Cathedral in Riga, where she performed on the biggest Romantic organ in the world - the famous Walcker Organ. She has also played several times in Meissen Cathedral, one of the most important historical monuments in Germany. She is a regular guest at celebrated international organ festivals in, for example, the Polish city of Krakow or at Brno in the Czech Republic and Vilnius in Lithuania. Ulrike Northoff has given organ recitals in famous churches in Basel, Copenhagen and St. Petersburg as well as at important concert venues in Germany, including the Solitude Palace outside Stuttgart, the Stiftskirche in Tuebingen and several times at the Hoechster Orgelsommer festival in Frankfurt. Reviewers stress her 'palpable joy in playing' (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung). She brings a 'rare freshness and vibrancy to the organ' (Stuttgarter Nachrichten). In addition to her solo concerts, Ulrike Northoff regularly appears in 'Organ Plus' programmes with musicians from the Hesse Radio Orchestra as well as with other soloists from Germany and elsewhere, winning acclaim for her 'delicate and adaptable accompaniment' (Frankfurter Rundschau). After several years as full-time cantor and music director in Bad Homburg, in 2001 Ulrike Northoff became the artistic director of the concert series 'Musik im Schloss' ('Music in the Castle'). Since 2006, as part of this series, she started the international Bad Homburg festival, 'Orgelsommer im Schloss' ('Summer with the Organ in the Castle').
ublishing Authentic Classical Concerts entails for us capturing and recording outstanding performances and concerts for posterity. The performers, audience, opus and room enter into an intimate dialogue that in its form and expression, its atmosphere, is unique and unrepeatable. It is our aim, the philosophy of our house, to enable the listener to acutely experience every facet of this symbiosis, the intensity of the performance, so we record the concerts in direct 2-Track Stereo digital HD. The results are unparalleled interpretations of musical and literary works, simply - audiophile snapshots of permanent value. Flourishing culture, enthralling the audience and last but not least also you the listener, are the values we endeavor to document in our editions and series.
Music that is new, pieces worth listening to and well worth conserving, little treasures from the traditional and the avantgarde - music that is unimaginable anywhere else but in the hotbed of Europe - we capture these in our Castle Concerts Series of recordings in their original settings in cooperation with Volker Northoff.
Andreas Otto Grimminger & Josef-Stefan Kindler, K&K Verlagsanstalt