WORKS: Attributions: Eight Little Preludes & Fugues, BWV 553-60; 15 Chorale Preludes; Fugue in G, BWV 581; Partita: Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr’, BWV 771
PERFORMER: Christopher Herrick (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67263
Christopher Herrick’s complete Bach cycle comes to a conclusion with a disc of works at one time attributed to JS Bach. Coupled with the much-loved, if hackneyed, Eight Short Preludes and Fugues are many delightful and largely unknown chorale preludes, mostly now re-attributed or ascribed anonymously. What might be a showcase of ‘also-ran’ pieces turns into a fascinating tour of Bach’s musical milieu. Only occasionally does one sense that one is listening to second-class music.
Herrick’s style, as ever, is rhythmic drive and clarity itself, though it will not be to everyone’s taste. The character of each piece is driven home with coruscating articulation, which can tend to bully rather than persuade. The beautiful Partita on ‘Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr’’, the most substantial piece on the disc, comes off best, with its busy and strongly contrasted textures, and it is in this technically brilliant keyboard style that Herrick excels. The organ is a Metzler of the mid-Seventies with bright and crystalline colours ideally suited to the music, and is only slightly marred by some uncharacteristically bulky pedal reeds. The recording quality is exemplary. William Whitehead