kropf Posted March 8, 2007 Share Posted March 8, 2007 full topic subtitle: "...related to the development of the American Classical Organ" - Sorry, also for missing URLs in first version of this post!! Related with two other threads (Rediscovery of north german baroque organs; and E. P. Biggs), the name of Fritz Heitmann recently appeared in this forum, and MM was interested to learn more. For me, too, his name was known but not really the personality behind. As I am going to take over a post with a large instrument designed and inaugurated by Heitmann, I started some investigation. I was very impressed to hear him play on historic recordings of 1940 and 1944, made on the large Sauer organ of Berlin cathedral from 1905 (4 manuals, 113 stops, fully tubular pneumatic action). Heitmann (1891-1953) has grown up with the small Schnitger organ of Hamburg-Ochsenwerder and was later educated by Karl Straube in Leipzig. This education led to the fact that he became a real Bach evangelist, but on the other hand it was impossible for him not to deal intensively with the music of Reger. Concert reviews from Europe and the US state that his performances must have been very impressive. And yes, you will ask, how did he come through the Nazi era...? Well, he was definitely no resistance fighter. But he was a very christian person and kept his full post as cathedral organist, which caused authorities to reduce his teaching duties. But he was also undersigner of documents, regarding the future of german church music, which, seen today, were of very doubtful content. Heitmann was professor at the Berlin conservatory, and he toured the US in 1939 and 1950. Both dates strengthen the impression that his capabilities where found to be appropriate to keep the last or build the first bridges between German and US-american music culture. I post this here, because on his tours he became friend of Edward Power Biggs and Arthur Howes, two important persons of the American "Orgelbewegung". Heitmann referred to that term later: "Wir brauchen eine permanente Bewegung um die Orgel" - "Regarding the organ, we need a PERMANENT movement". He played music down to Praetorius on instruments, which would be judged by today's players as absolutely inadequate for music older than 1800. His programmes included contemporary masters, mostly from Germany, but he played e. g. Howells, Alain, Messiaen and swedish composers, too. He was also a demanded teacher. His few essays on organ building warned from pure historicism, but appealed for the search for the very organ. In today's words, he would be a lover of the "the best from both worlds" phrase. He would have loved the American classical organ (he was closely connected to D. Harrison) and the finer of the larger new instruments of the last decades in all over Europe, perhaps his Bach focus would prefer English and German designs before French... I think, the compact disc is sold out, so I hope not to get charged for posting some mp3-files for those of you more interested. Listen to a section form Bachs Dorian Toccata, which comes out quite articulated and with fresh speed - note the acoustically VERY appropriate gap (incredible reverberation there...) before the first Ruckpositiv section Prelude in b minor is very fresh (not to say fast), too From the Toccata 565 d-minor there is the opening of the fugue - some small mistakes there and a sort of haste. The recording is undated, but tonally it refers to the later ones of february 1944 - maybe not the best time to make recordings in Berlin... From the g-minor fantasy 542 also the opening with a large gap before the second idea - note the fine 8'-chorus... It's interesting that there is a nearly complete absence of pedal reeds except the final chords. To hear the larger reeds, we have to turn to Heitmann's second musical root, Max Reger. Here is a collage of sections from Introduktion & Passacaglia d-minor. Hope you enjoyed it, comments welcome... Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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