[Review] in THE STRAD

In Heavenly Harmony: Romantic Music for Violin and Organ

The Strad Issue: April 2018   Description: Violin and organ search for heavenly balance in a big acoustic   Musicians: Daniel Auner (violin) Hannfried Lucke (organ)   Works: VITALI Ciacona in G minor (arr. Charlier/Lucke); LISZT Evocation à la Chapelle Sixtine for organ; REGER Romance for violin and organ (arr. Hellmann), Intermezzo in G minor for organ op.80 no.6 PARADIS Sicilienne (arr. Dushkin); RHEINBERGER Six Pieces for violin and organ op.150   Catalogue Number: COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91734

The main work here is Rheinberger’s Six Pieces for violin and organ, written in 1867 at the request of his publisher and ‘thereby filling a vacuum in the genre’, according to the booklet. There’s still a lot of vacuum left, and this work isn’t really up to its heavy responsibility. Daniel Auner and Hannfried Lucke give it a good outing, but are hampered by the cavernous acoustic of St Florin’s Cathedral in Vaduz, Liechtenstein (full details of the organ are in the booklet).

Auner sounds rather distant and occasionally in danger of disappearing behind the organ. He is good at shaping Rheinberger’s long, attractive melodies, and when the virtuosic demands are ramped up he remains technically impeccable and tonally unruffled. But there is drama in the music, complete with accents and fortissimos, and that drama rarely comes across, with the bite and vigour of Auner’s bowing negated, I suspect, by the acoustic. Only at the very end is there a burst of grandeur.

In Vitali’s Ciacona, already tweaked for extra sensation by Léopold Charlier before being arranged by Lucke, Auner’s playing is clear and thrilling. His lyrical skills are evident in Reger’s Romance and Paradis’s Sicilienne, too, and Lucke gives fine accounts of Liszt and Reger.


Daniel Auner proudly plays on "D'Elia" - a Giovanni Battista Guadagnini Violin 1752 that belongs to the collection of the Austrian National Bank. The instrument sounds even better with DOMINANT PRO strings by Thomastik Infeld.

The audio  files on this site are copyright protected by Daniel Auner, Wiener Konzerthaus, Tonkünstler Orchestra, Gramola Vienna, Robin Green, the Vienna Mozart Trio and Irina Auner.
Fotos: © Andrej Grilc, Shirley Suarez and Nancy Horowitz