Friedrich Ladegast was one of the most important organ builders during the 2nd half of the 19th century. Especially with his first large organ at Merseburg Cathedral, he set the benchmark for organ building and at the same time influenced the further development of organ music: Franz Liszt and his "adlatus" Alexander Winterberger immediately recognized the new symphonic options of the organ sound and therefore with their new works established a basis for using the organ in a new symphonic manner. This development saw its peak half a century later in Max Reger’s monumental organ works and found a parallel development in France where the French symphonic organ concept was based on the organs by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.
Friedrich Ladegast was born on Aug 30, 1818 in Hochhermsdorf, a village in the middle between Leipzig, Dresden and Chemnitz - therefore the musical world celebrates his 200th birthday now. This marks the occasion for the release of two CDs on querstand label which contain the programs of the first concerts played at two of the greatest Ladegast Organs: the above-mentioned in Merseburg Cathedral and the organ at Schwerin Cathedral. Both CDs are available as single CDs and together in a box.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was quite common to liven up instrumental concert performances, whether orchestral, chamber or, as in this case, organ concerts, by inserting vocal works or adding guest instrumentalists. Even at first glance at the musical programs that took place on 26 September 1855 in Merseburg and on 3 October 1871 in Schwerin and are reconstructed on the CDs, the pre- ferred form is evident: many individual pieces in changing formations create a colourful and accessible sequence of music for a broad audience.