CD SACD DVD

Olivier Messiaen, Complete Organ Works (8 CDs) Remastered edition, issued by Brilliant Classics in over 40 countries

''This new set by Willem Tanke is most certainly Messiaenic heaven to me, and has placed the music far closer to my heart than any of the previous sets. This recent release is as close to perfect as I think I will find' (Simon Fitzgerald, The Organ)

'This stunning new recording is sure to cause great excitement. Incredible as it may seem there were only 3 edits in the entire performance! This is playing of an exceptional standard' (Cathedral Classical)

With virtuoso lightness, unfailing timing and inexhaustible wealth of colours, Tanke opens up Messiaen's heaven...his interpretations touch the heart through the organist's peace of mind and sensitivity...this collection is a milestone in the Messiaen discography and a great moment in his organ music' (Miquel Cabruja, klassik.com)

'Willem Tanke's Messiaenproject is een huzarenstuk... wat bij Messiaen inhoudt dat je niet alleen groots moet kunnen uitpakken, maar ook de innerlijke rust moet hebben om de lange, verstilde lijnen tot hun recht te laten komen. Tanke toont zich daarin een meester' (Hans Heg, de Volkskrant)


Max Reger: Variations and Fugue F sharp minor op. 73

Willem Tanke: Two wind fantasies (SACD)

AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, March/April 2007

TANKE: Wind-Fantasies 1+2

REGER: Variations & Fugue on an Original Theme, op 73

Willem Tanke, org – Cybele 60302 – 72 minutes

Willem Tanke (b 1959) plays his First Wind-Fantasy on the 3-manual, 31-stop Marcussen organ from 1959 in St Lawrence's Church in Rotterdam and his Second Wind-Fantasy on the 4-manual, 86-stop Marcussen from 1973 in the same church. Both organs are very fine and are heard well in this program.

The form of both pieces is similar, though they seem quite idiomatic to the instruments they are played on. At the core of both is the organ's unique capacity among musical instruments to sustain a tone indefinitely. Tanke builds tone clusters over which he exposes and develops rhythmic and melodic motives. He explores the tonal resources of the two instruments in both the textures of the tone clusters and the stops he uses for the motivic development. An example is the use of the attack noise or “chiff” of a high-pitched pipe as a marimba-like percussive effect. This then is developed by playing the same sound while sustaining a tone at the same pitch, thus creating a warbling effect in the rhythm.

Tanke has one of the most interesting musical minds I have encountered in some time. He performs his pieces with the verve and panache they deserve. This is a very important release.

Also on the program is Reger's Variations and Fugue on an Original Theme. This piece consists of an introduction, theme exposition, 13 variations, and a fugue. Reger possessed consumate compositional skill and here he seems to have determined to show that he could flog every last bit out of the essence of his theme. Has this piece been composed before electrically produced wind was introduced for organs Reger would certainly have been forced to edit for the sake of the overworked bellowsmen. Tanke plays this piece splendidly on the 4-manual, 81-stop Edema organ in St Bavo's Church in Haarlem.