Musical contribution - January 2018

Andantino Joseph Renner (1868-1934) (LiVE sample set: Paris, Cavaillé Coll).

First of all, on behalf of the management and staff at Johannus Orgelbouw, we would like to wish you all the best for 2018, with good health and much musicality.

We open this year with a relatively unknown composer: Joseph Renner. Personally, I have few of his organ works in my possession, and just one of his choral works. However, this does nothing to diminish the quality of this – in my opinion – rather modest musician.

He was born and raised in Regensburg, and lived and eventually died there. He received his first music lessons from his father and studied at the “Königlichen Musikschule” in Munich under the famous Joseph Rheinberger, among others. The latter was always his great example when it came to composition techniques. His oeuvre consists of more than 90 opus numbers. Organists such as Max Reger and Karl Straube have always enormously appreciated Renner’s work.

This andantino comes from “12 Tonstücke verschiedenen Charakters”. Never sentimental or over-emotional, he knows how to carry us through the German Romantic colour palette with beautiful voice leading. Traditional, certainly. The previously mentioned musicians, Reger and Straube (although only five years younger) went much further in their choice of harmonies. Nevertheless, a great craftsman who deserves to return to the lectern.

Renner indicates the dynamics himself. We can achieve this by registering or using the swell pedal. Mind you, the differences between forte and piano do not have to be very great, but can also be expressed by adding a single extra stop or taking it away again. Even if you play this work completely without dynamic variations, it remains a treasure.

With musical regards,

André van Vliet

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