Organ works by Otto Dienel (1839-1905), a prominent organist and composer in Berlin, are played by Edward Zimmerman, an OHS member on the music faculty and College Organist at Wheaton College-Conservatory of Music, Wheaton, Illinois. The organs are the 1866 E. & G. G. Hook 2-25 at South Congregational Church, Augusta, Maine, and the 1851 E. & G. G. Hook / 1894 Hutchings / 1988 Andover 3-46 at St. John’s Cathedral, Providence, Rhode Island.
Dienel was the son of a Silesian cantor and music teacher and attended the Görlitz Hochschule and the Bunzlau Seminary. Then, he went to Berlin, entered the Royal Institute for Church Music, and studied with August Wilhelm Bach, Carl August Haupt, Carl Albert Löschhorn, August Edouard Grell, and Wilhelm Taubert. After some time as organist at the Bartholomäus-und-Heiligkreuzekirche, he took the post at the Berlin Marienkirche in 1869 and remained until his death in 1905. He also taught at the Royal Seminary and on the organ in his church. He was elected to honorary membership in the American Guild of Organists in 1898, along with Guilmant, Gigout, Stainer, Hopkins, and Bossi.
The four sonatas were all completed in 1893 and published in England by Novello, rather than in Germany. The first, third, and fourth sonatas feature chorale tunes in various movments. In the Fourth Sonata (Christmas Sonata), O Sanctissima is featured in the first movement, Stille nacht in the second, and Vom himmel hoch in the third and last movement.