Bach: Organ Music

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Album title:
Bach - Chorale Preludes
Composer(s):
Bach
Works:
Organ Music
Performer:
Gillian Weir
Label:
Priory
Catalogue Number:
PRCD 800 AB
Performance:
starstarstarstarstar
Sound:
starstarstarstarstar
5
Reviewer:
BBC Music Magazine

Gillian Weir’s Bach series, consummation of a world-class musician’s recorded legacy, continues with this release recorded in Leipzig, where her characteristic clarity, wit and elegance are partnered by the excellent and much-heralded ‘Bach’ organ at St Thomas’s. The sinewy curves of the flutes generate the interpretation of ‘An Wasserflüssen Babylon’ (BWV 653); and the clarion-like cornet signals the triumph inherent in other chorales. The organ, brainchild of Woehl of Marburg, gathers as much as we know of the ‘ideal’ Bach organ together in one instrument, without actually replicating any single instrument. It is a fine organ notably fulfilling Bach’s welldocumented desire for ‘gravitas’ (as heard powerfully at the conclusion of ‘Komm, Gott, Schöpfer, heiliger Geist’, BWV 667). The booklet is packed with musicological and interpretative gems (how many gurus of authenticity know the quotation by Gerber, extolling Bach’s legato playing?), all of which eloquently support the< playing itself. This has always taken inspiration from within the music itself and from the sound of the organ at her disposal. Dogma and performance fad find no place here. Correspondingly, the music is not articulated to within an inch of its life, as some players have chosen to do in recent decades. There are tempo and registration choices that may perhaps surprise (the slow movement of the E minor Trio Sonata is almost a scherzo at this speed), but to criticise would be churlish. There is not a note that is not refreshing and inspiring. The recording quality is excellent, and captures a lucid and spacious ambience. William Whitehead

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