The german conductor and organist Hansjörg Albrecht is recording Bruckner’s entire oeuvre of symphonies in transcriptions for organ with Oehms Classics.

This project – the first of its kind – leads up to Bruckner’s 200th anniversary year in 2024, culminating in a 10-CD anthology that showcases the composer as a master of the organ. The recordings will all take place at original venues, featuring spectacular organs Europe-wide.

For the project – entitled Anton Bruckner: The Symphonies  – Albrecht is commissioning composers with an affinity for Bruckner’s work to create 10 new “Bruckner Windows”. This supports Albrecht’s wider aim of expanding the repertoire of contemporary organ music, as well as providing a platform for contemporary composers. A video on the entire project can be seen here.

Further information

To mark Bruckner’s 200th anniversary year, this 10-volume
edition preserves the composer’s status as a master of the
King of Instruments.

● The German conductor and organist Hansjörg Albrecht is recording Bruckner’s
entire oeuvre of symphonies in transcriptions for organ with Oehms Classics.
● This colossal project – entitled Anton Bruckner: The Symphonies – leads up to
Bruckner’s 200th anniversary year in 2024, culminating in a 10-CD anthology
that showcases the composer as a master of the organ.
● The recordings will take place at original venues, featuring spectacular organs
Europe-wide. Currently, plans are underway to record in locations such as
Vienna, Munich, Leipzig, Lucerne, and Paris.
● Vol. 2, the latest release in the cycle, contains the transcription of the 2nd
Symphony as well as British composer David Matthews’ take on it, and was
recorded at the organ of Westminster Cathedral. A short film on this recording,
which was released on 3 December 2021, can be seen here

● Through this new Bruckner organ cycle, Albrecht intends to help position
Bruckner internationally as an “organ heavyweight” between Bach and
Messiaen, in addition to the major 19th century organ works of the 19th
century from Germany (Mendelssohn, Schumann and Liszt) and France
(Guilmant, Franck and Widor).
● For Anton Bruckner: The Symphonies, Albrechtis commissioning renowned
composers with an affinity for Bruckner’s work to create 10 new “Bruckner
Windows”. This supports Albrecht’s wider aim of expanding the repertoire of
contemporary organ music, as well as providing a platform for contemporary
composers.
● The production is carried out in cooperation with the music publishers
Bärenreiter, Faber Music, Universal-Edition, Dr. Butz and Merseburger, among
others, as well as the organ manufactures Rieger, Klais, Eule, Grenzing and
Harrison & Harrison Ltd.
● Speaking of Bruckner’s masterful symphonies, his virtuosic organ capabilities
and the importance of creating a weighty monument to him in this field,
Albrecht said: “Bruckner’stowering cathedrals of sound continue to captivate many
people to this day. Bruckner stands like a rock in the surf with his symphonic oeuvre
and his very own musical language. His late romantic symphonies point far into the
future as great,seemingly uncopyable monoliths, and his deep faith and music
dedicated to God connects him with both Bach in the 18th century and with
Messiaen in the 20th century. Bruckner brought early international fame thanks to
his outstanding abilities as an organist. He was known throughout Europe for his
virtuoso playing and received invitations for concert tours to France, England and
Switzerland, amongst other places. He was especially celebrated for his symphonic
organ improvisations, including large-scale fantasies on his own themes and motifs
from Richard Wagner’s operas. Many themes from his symphonies are said to have
occurred to him while he was playing freely. Unfortunately, Bruckner’s improvisations
have naturally not survived in musical text, and the number of his organ compositions
that are considered secure is limited to only five small, insignificant pieces.”
● Speaking of the new Bruckner Windows, Albrecht said: “Bruckner’s musical
world forms the contentual bracket and the organ, as the most universal of all
instruments, offers a colour and sound palette like no other solo instrument. The aim
is to create a very broad spectrum of musical expression, to push the possibilities of
the instrument even further in terms of composition, and to create something new
both experimentally and in terms of sound. At the same time, composers have a
wonderful opportunity to both reflect on, and break with, tradition. In addition, the
form of a cycle of ten different compositions, which can also be performed variably as
a selection, in free sequence or as a whole, offers the possibility of placement in a wide
variety of concert programs. The compositions could also have pedagogical value as
well as to possibly be used in liturgy.”

● The first recording of this ambitious project was made on the Bruckner organ
of the Augustinian Canons’ Monastery of St. Florian, where Bruckner began his
international organist career. A video for this project can be seen here
● Following the completion of the project in 2024, Albrecht will present the
respective Bruckner symphonies in concert halls and cathedrals worldwide.
● Plans are also underway for an illustrated book and a documentary film to
accompany the project, in cooperation with Oehms Classics.
● The project is under the patronage of German conductor Christian Thielemann.
(Principal Conductor Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden).[* please see Comments]
● Currently, Albrecht is presenting a 45-minute film about the project as part of
the 1st International Online Organ Festival/IOOF 2022 (www.io-of.org), for
which Albrecht is artistic director of, and which is under the patronage of
UNESCO.
● Hansjörg Albrecht is one o fthe few artists who is regularly present
internationally as both a conductor and as a concert organist. Currently, he is
artistic director of the Munich Bach Choir & Bach Orchestra, and he has
longstanding collaborations with the San Carlo Opera House Naples, the
Chamber Orchestra Moscow and the Staatskapelle Weimar.
● Elsewhere, Albrecht has performed internationally in London, Paris, Vienna,
Berlin, Prague, Rome, Moscow Tokyo and New York, collaborating regularly
with world-renowned artists and orchestras. In 2013, he was nominated for a
GRAMMY Award, and he has been a member of the executive board of the New
Bach Society Leipzig since 2021.