Sacred Concert in Lent

20 April 2008

Giorgio Parolini convinces in St. Gallus with a sense of colour
Tuttlingen. (stm) – The pleasure that Bernard Sanders had in introducing the organist Giorgio Parolini from Milan for the second Sacred Concert in Lent, this time in St. Gallus, was very apparent. And the international concert organist Parolini lived up to the expectations. Parolini began with North German Baroque, with Buxtehude´s Passacaglia in d-minor whose texture was served as a powerful appetizer but always clear. In the following Chorale Preludes of Buxtehude and Bach Parolini demonstrated his sense of colour, which one could almost continually enjoy. Consistently delineating the Chorales, he enticed ever new, interesting colours and combinations out of the Rieger organ in St. Gallus. The disposition of the organ is relentless but Parolini showed also her softer, darker aspects. The first climax: Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in b-minor. The Prelude with its dramatic syncopations was presented powerfully and appropriately compact, without excursions and ritardandi – Parolini hardly used these means and apparently favours obvious brusque endings. The opening and middle section of the Fugue gained in transparency through less volume and closed convincingly.

Unusual colour combinations
The second part of the concert led us to more modern regions. Jeanne Demessieux´s “Attende Domine” is indebted to the French style with expressive harmonies from the impressionistic school. The garb of the piece was enhanced through Parolini´s mix of unusual colour combinations. Similarly, in the Chorale Meditation on “Herzliebster Jesu” by Bernard Sanders: at first a mysterious line sank in a breathless subbass before the message of the passion came to our ears in a convincing modern setting with extremes and estrangement. Perhaps in the sense of meditation, the colour contrasts hadn´t needed to be so extreme since the piece itself has enough expressive content. The program was rounded off with Johannes Brahms. The Chorale “O Traurigkeit, O Herzeleid” was introduced in a nasal tone which broke the softer texture of the program. In the Fugue the melody was laid out in the lower range in augmentation with corresponding colours. A convincing musical late afternoon in Lent, which a false Spring prevented from being as well attended as it had deserved.