An almost completely filled church and an almost two hour solo concert: Barbara Dennerlein played a memorable concert on occasion of the 50th anniversary of Queen Mary Church in Kirchheim/Teck. The building's extraordinary concrete architecture, the positioning and illumination of the 2010 Steinmeyer-Orgel with it's unique design made a very special atmosphere. The Teckbote newspaper reported: "Barbara Dennerlein ... played in Kirchheim for the second time last Saturday. Not on her Hammond with which she started her world career but on the Steinmeyer in Queen Mary. ... This event got around quickly in the jazz scene.
So it was no surprise that fans from far as well as local audience filled the church's benches almost completely. ...the expectant visitors enjoyed two hours of organ music that captured them from the start until the end. This is not self-evident, even not for a musician with world-wide recommendation. Barbara Dennerlein could have arrived at the concert evening, coming up with her show just like that. No problem with the routine of hundred concerts per year. Instead, she had spent more than eight hours at the organ on Friday, to prepare the registration carefully, to become familiar with the instrument and the hall's acoustic characteristics. The jazz connoisseur may wonder if this is a contradiction to the jazz's freedom of improvisation. But the concert proved that in Dennerlein's music most conscientious preparation and spontaneity are not mutually exclusive at all.
Both were to sense in every moment, exactly set sound colours, perfect play and - the most important - this inalienable musical alertness in each second, which is essential for jazz musicians. ...melodies, as fresh as can be, born in the same moment... bass line on the pedal ... harmonies with rhythms in the left hand, ... the most agile solo lead with the right hand, frequently with interlinked swell. With this, the organist seemed to conjure a whole big band into the organ for the bluesy pieces. But what left hand and pedal work performed in the Latin compositions was simply witchcraft.
The artist unfolded a completely different world when she played one of her compositions that she originally has written for symphonic orchestra and now adopted to the pipe organ. We became witness of grand creativity that is willing to take risks. Barbara virtually flirted with the Steinmeyer organ, mumbling in the lowest and chirping in the highest notes, punching the pedals for bass guitar sounds. The wood of pipes turned into a roaring animal, so abominably persistent, that one might have thought that this was the world's end. ...the enormous presence of the organist aroused a storm of enthusiasm after these extreme performance.
It's no surprise that the Steinmeyer organ received the highest praise from the artist. Absolutely right! "You can demand almost everything from this organ", the virtuoso said. This was meant so thoroughly honest, so elated and far from any routine that this statement touched the hearts. But on the other hand the organ paid back for this: the organist had to work hard to actuate all the wires, rods, joint pieces, springs and valves. Heavy labour indeed!
Barbara Dennerlein led through the concert evening with introducing explanations to each title with the same implicitness and gracefulness of her play. It was very pleasant that the organist was not - like in most other churches - separated from the listeners on a gallery but could talk face to face to her audience. ... I bet that Barbara Dennerlein did not play for the last time in Queen Mary Church."