This is the 3rd of Halgeir Schiager’s four-CD-series with the organ works of Gustav Merkel (1827-1885).
Merkel was one of the most popular composers for the organ, both in Europe and in America. Crucial to the wide distribution of his music was the interest of renowned music publishers. By dedicating works to specific people Merkel sought contact with leading organists in Germany and abroad, which was a vital element of his success. His most enthusiastic support among the reviewers came from the editor of Urania, A. W. Gottschalg; several other writers also expressed positive opinions of Merkel’s works. The influence of Bach and Mendelssohn was pointed out, without this being seen as negative, and he was favourably compared with Joseph Rheinberger.
Halgeir Schiager has taken part in a number of highly acclaimed CD recordings. For Hyperion he has recorded the complete organ works of Petr Eben. Schiager has been member of international organ competitions. In 2001 he received the Norwegian Critics Annual Prize. He made his doctoral degree on aspects of interpretation in the organ music by Gustav Merkel at the Norwegian Academy of Music. At present Schiager is working as an organist at the Sofienberg church in Oslo.