Bach: Concerto in G, BWV 571; Concerto in E flat, BWV 597; Prelude and Fugue in C, BWV 531; Prelude in C, BWV 567; Fugue in C minor, BWV 562; Fugue in D, BWV 580; Fugue in C, BWV 946

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COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Concerto in G, BWV 571; Concerto in E flat, BWV 597; Prelude and Fugue in C, BWV 531; Prelude in C, BWV 567; Fugue in C minor, BWV 562; Fugue in D, BWV 580; Fugue in C, BWV 946
PERFORMER: Christopher Herrick (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67139
This ‘Cornucopia’ of small-scale pieces (small despite grand titles like ‘Fantasia’ and ‘Concerto’) forms part of Christopher Herrick’s project to record all Bach’s organ works. He leaves five unfinished items as torsos, without supplying completions, which is fair enough, though there is no mystery about what would round off the Pedal-Exercitium, for feet only, satisfactorily. Several pieces are chorale-based, but one of the most fascinating is an exploratory excursion called Kleines harmonisches Labyrinth, a little reminiscent of Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue.

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The organ in a church in Kaisten, Switzerland, is a modest two-manual instrument with 21 stops, built in 1975 by the firm of Metzler, whose organs elsewhere in Switzerland Herrick has chosen for the whole series. It proves versatile throughout the disc’s thirty tracks, and Herrick is able to come up with a seemingly limitless variety of sonorities. It’s also recorded beautifully, with just the right sense of reverberant space and a vivid perspective for pipes which are relatively near or far away. All this creates a harmonious atmosphere for the music’s spirit to breathe, and Herrick’s crisp articulation makes for clarity without mannerism. Details of his choice of stops are given for each track. Adrian Jack