Felix Mendelssohn's six Organ Sonatas, Opus 65, were published in 1845. Mendelssohn's biographer Eric Werner has written of them: "Next to Bach's works, Mendelssohn's Organ Sonatas belong to the required repertory of all organists."
Mendelssohn was a skilled organist, and during his visits to Britain gave a number of well-received organ recitals. These often included the improvisations for which he was famous (e.g., at his recitals during his 1842 tour in London and Oxford)
These qualities are evident in the organ sonatas, which were commissioned as a "set of voluntaries" by the English publishers Coventry and Hollier in 1844 and were published in 1845. Correspondence between Mendelssohn and Coventry relating to the Sonatas took place between August 1844 and May 1845. Mendelssohn suggested that Gauntlett undertake the proof reading,
In response to the commission, Mendelssohn at first drafted seven individual voluntaries, but then determined to extend and regroup them into a set of six sonatas, meaning by this not pieces in classical sonata form, but using the word as it had been used by Bach.
Sonata No 6 in D minor (1845) demonstrates Mendelssohn’s craftsmanship and mastery of organ texture in a set of variations upon the Lutheran chorale Vater unser im Himmelreich.
Following a five-part harmonisation of the Chorale, which pervades the sonata as a whole, Mendelssohn presents four variations of increasing brilliance before a restatement of the Chorale.
The sonata concludes with a substantial fugue and the finale in D major, whose quiet religiosity symbolises the completion of a journey from stern Lutheranism to an essentially English brand of sentiment.
(Conor Farrington 2015)
Parts were recorded separately and edited together.
The various entry points are: