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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.