“a giant cathedral [built] from brilliant sounds”



press reviews Florian Wilkes


A selection of recent press reviews:


“A first-rate exponent of the organ in concerto form” (Westfälisches Blatt)

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“Masterful technique, cleverly arranged creative power and superb registration” (Die Rheinpfalz)

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“Florian Wilkes certainly belongs among the most eminent concert organists of the contemporary classical scene.” (Münchner Merkur)

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“With skilful musical directing the concert was emotionally built up to an exuberant finale.” (Leverkusener Anzeiger)

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“World-class, metropolitan standard!” (Iserlohner Kreisanzeiger)

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“A concert like a sermon without words” (Schleswig-Holsteinische Zeitung)

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“excellent, on instinct relying measured feeling of style” (Bergsträsser Anzeiger)

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“A life changing listening experience!” (Berliner Tagesspiegel) (discography)

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“Brilliant play without equal, owing to the clearest articulation of the runs, thrilling grasp of the powerful architecture. (…) The way this architect at the organ now builds a giant cathedral from brilliant sounds with powerful rhythms as the foundation takes the listeners’ breath away.” (Münchner Merkur)

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“The enthusiastic audience did not want to cease their applause” (Zeitung Bad Münder)

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“Florian Wilkes convinced artlessly and expressively. The audience in the well attended church honoured this very special concert with standing ovations.” (Neue Westfälische Zeitung)

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“At the organ the audience saw a musician who combined youthful pizzazz with intuitive interpretation.” (Badische Zeitung)

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“A master of technique and secure in his style” (Neue Westfälische Zeitung)

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“Wilkes at the Walcker organ (…) an excellent musician and a master of interpretation.” (Badische Zeitung)

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“Florian Wilkes does not merely play the music, he lives it (…) The audience give enthusiastic applause.” (Ruhrnachrichten)

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“There was well-deserved applause for a high-quality afternoon concert, which left nothing to be desired.” (Westfälische Rundschau)

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“Florian Wilkes Esq. proved himself to be a virtuosic organist and an insightful interpreter, who knew exactly how to set his convincing Bach interpretation against his own compositions. The impressed audience did not skimp on their applause.” (AT)

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“J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue E flat major - one fascinating piece of organ work. Provided that they are as convincingly performed as Florian Wilkes did at the Ueberwasser Church on saturday. An overall enthralling interpretation.” (Westfälische Nachrichten) (discography)

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“Architecture transformed into sound. Wilkes brilliantly found the right inflection and a proper registration for every passage and every sound. The highly focused organist accurately balanced multiple layers and was even in quicker sequences never hasty. He entrusted the keys and the pedals with his evident enthusiasm for the work and the instrument. With Wilkes at the organ, the weightiness of the work became relative. The audience’s grasp of this modern work became very enjoyable child´s play. (…) Prolonged applause, repeated standing ovations (…)” (Rheda/H. Sommerkamp)

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“Highest praise from all corners! I have heard op. 58 performed a few times before but never so brilliantly as in Laasphe on the Simon organ in St. Petrus. A ’precious gem’ in Liszt’s and Reger’s crown!” (Friedrich-Kiel- Gesellschaft, Bad Laasphe) (discography)

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“After Wilkes had carried with the playful piece ´Carillon de Westmminster´by Louis Vierne the famous chimes of ´Big Ben´ into the well attended Ueberwasser church, he earned lasting applause and standing ovations.” (Münstersche Zeitung) (discography)

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“An accomplished organist whose virtuoso power carries especially in the French repertoire: the famous ´Carillon de Westminster´by Louis Vierne, performed by him, is a mass in itself.” (Märkische Oderzeitung) (discography)

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“The highlights were three pieces from ’The Way of the Cross’ by Dupré. He (Florian Wilkes) magically attracted the audience to the testimony’s charm; everyone felt the ardour, with which this music was written.” (WR) (discography)

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“However, Wilkes shows his true mastery with the popular Toccata from the organ symphony by Widor. To the highest degree did Wilkes do justice to this composer´s gem with its great technical demands.” (WR) (discography)

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“It was organ music, which, one felt, had been written just for this Färber organ, restored in the year 2001. Florian Wilkes interpreted the pieces ever so delicately, played the organ almost devotedly and made the evening a special one for the friends of the organ music.” (De Pelwormer)

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“Again the interpretation by our guest from Berlin left nothing to be desired. Especially the intensification in the fugue, primed by the chorale ‘Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir’ (From deep affliction I cry out to you), was convincingly carved out. Wilkes employs the timbres of the Walcker organ here as delicately as in the organ versions of two ‘Consolations’ by Liszt and the organ arrangement of Bach’s Prelude and Fugue on B-A-C-H by Alexander W. Gottschalg.” (Badische Zeitung)

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“On the topic ‘The Grace of Mercy – Organ Music of the German Romantic Era’ he conjured up surprising sounds from our rather small choir organ, which caused us to marvel at the possibilities of our instrument when it sounds under a master’s hands.” (Abby of Varensell/Chronic Advent 2005-2006 - Benedictine nuns)

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“The Bach interpretations he presented in Bensheim did not only impress through their crystal-clear technique but also through their forthcoming natural musicality and unusually relaxed superior form. When was the last time that the Prelude and Fugue BWV 552 sounded this majestic and at the same time free of tension as it did on that evening, the wonderful Trio Sonata in C major BWV 529 so light-footed and well-balanced as here? ‘Bachian’ Toccata fire and ‘Lisztian’ virtuoso magic then culminated at the end of the programme in the 1855 composed B-A-C-H Fantasy by Liszt, whose bold improvisational spirit and elemental expressiveness Florian Wilkes knew to convey with positively electrifying emphasis and bravura – unsurpassable highlight of an organist’s great moment.” (Südhessen Morgen)

( discography )



CD reviews


On “Paris-Berlin” (discography)

“Florian Wilkes dispenses with all excessive showmanship. In an almost humble simplicity he intones the melodies in Boëllmanns “Suite Gothique”, in almost bashful discretion he strikes the chords, only to naturally let the music by itself intensify to a giant, overwhelming ecstasy of sound. In filigree sensitivity Wilkes lets spherical dissonances rub against each other in Messiaen’s “L’ Ascension”, only to then interweave them to a delicate web of sounds. An exceedingly commendable production.” (Ruhrnachrichten)


On “Dvorak’s 9th Symphony” (discography)

”The result is a richly nuanced sound pattern, which invites the listener on an acoustic journey to the landscapes and towns of the New World. After four movements and 50 minutes the listener is left with the desire for more.” (Katholische SonntagsZeitung)

“Dvorak’s masterpiece, performed solo on the bombastic Sauer organ at the Berlin Dome - a life changing listening experience!” (Berliner Tagesspiegel)

“Florian Wilkes succeeded in masterfully translating the character of the piece.” (Badische Zeitung)

 

On “Goldene Klänge aus Berlins Kathedrale - Trompete und Orgel” (discography )

The well-done, tonally as well as artistically convincing recordings recommend themselves for any high-class CD collection. (...) Brilliancy and tonal melting sweetness” (Ruhrnachrichten)


On the Organ Symphony in A

 

“Florian Wilkes’ ‘First Organ Symphony’ touchingly depicts the life story of Provost Bernhard Lichtenberg who died at the concentration camp Dachau and was beatified in 1996. The symphony in five movements is incredibly dramatic and deeply moving. Wonderfully intoxicatingly intensifying [is] the vehement Fugato. The entire wealth of this organ’s timbre becomes audible, from the most tender, soul-touching affection of a simple melody to the mighty full organ sound which fills the high church. During fascinatingly transparent, fast and virtuoso passages, many a listener holds their breath. At the end of the New Year’s concert, the audience celebrated him with standing ovations.” (Badische Zeitung)

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“The concluding high point was reached with the Berliner organist’s Organ Symphony in A ´For a Resistance Fighter´. Wilkes rendered his admiration for a courageous dean of the Cathedral St Hedwig in music. The latter lost his life on the way to the concentration camp Dachau due to the national socialist barbarism. At the very beginning powerful and expressive, the music then leads through quiet remembrance on to the encouraging finale.” (Lausitzer Rundschau)

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“He introduced the public of Rheda to his exciting work- the Organ Symphony in A ´For a Resistance Fighter´. Powerful and vigorous initial chords, gripping intervals, buzzing and masterful passages dominate the highly imaginative first movement entitled ´Fantasy´. Brilliant runs and solemn chords alternated in the IIIrd and IVth movement before a concluding jubilation developed in the rhythmically accentuated finale which alternated between major and minor key. Florian Wilkes convinced with a tonal language which was completely bound to the traditional composition, yet also bore witness to his very own unaffected and intense force of expression.” (Die Glocke)

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“The most encompassing and multifaceted work was without doubt Wilkes’s own composition: the Organ Symphony in A, dedicated to the resistance fighter Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Vigorous, energetic and determined, the organ begins in a minor key. The voice, forced to respond, develops into a protesting stir and leads to a quiet passage in a minor key atmosphere– audacity, determination, hesitation, depressive resigning and new uphill struggle in an existential ´borderline situation´, depicting and gauging. ´Old Dance´possibly conveys nostalgic reminiscence of things past and beautiful, indecision when faced with such irrecoverable things. A sort of programme, then, which lies like a web upon the whole, with the musical will, the purely musical thinking being however primordial.” (Badische Zeitung)

 

 

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Organist and attorney Florian Wilkes (Berlin)

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