Andreas Willscher (b. 1955) — Altärchen (from Kleines Wein-Brevier) (2002) for organ
The movements of “Kleines Wein-Brevier” (Small Wine Breviary) (2002) each bear the name of a different label of German wine. A “breviary” is a book of liturgical texts/prayers, and in this case each of these wines has a religious-inspired name. (They do not all have direct English analogs; for example, “Hölle” is the modern German word for “hell,” which Willscher plays upon in the movement; however, the name of the wine derives not from hell but from the Medieval word “Halde” meaning “slope.”) Willscher’s music for each movement takes inspiration from both the name and the wine’s character. The moods thus range from introspective (“Jesuitengarten”) to intense (“Hölle”) to good-humored (“Großer Herrgott”).
German composer and organist Andreas Willscher (b. 1955) studied composition, theory, and organ in his native Hamburg. In 1971 he was appointed organist of the St. Francis Church in Hamburg and in 2000 at the church of St. Joseph-Wandsbek. In addition, he has been keyboardist for several jazz and rock ensembles. Willscher has received many awards and commissions for his compositions, which range widely in form: from symphonic music and oratorios to cabaret and rock scores. His organ works are very diverse, ranging from large-scale post-tonal pieces to some that blend elements of the traditional repertoire with contemporary jazz and pop influences. In addition to his own composition and performing activities, Willscher has published a number of literary and scientific articles in journals and encyclopedias and has been very active in collecting and preserving lost and forgotten music from earlier eras. In 2015, in honor of his 60th birthday and life’s work as a musician, he was awarded the Johann Wenzel Stamitz Prize from the Arts Guild of Esslingen.