Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV 538; Prelude & Fugue in G, BWV 535; An Wasserflüssen Babylon, BWV 653; Fantasia super ‘Jesu, meine Freude’, BWV 713a/1 & 713/2 etc
Kei Koito (organ)
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 19075915582 67:52 mins
A Baroque specialist and noted Bach player, Japanese organist Kei Koito brings intellectual rigour to a programme covering all the main genres of organ composition in Bach’s day. She plays the Arp Schnitger organ in the Martinikerk in the northeast Dutch city of Groningen, an instrument dating back to Bach’s childhood and one of the most famous – and precious – of all Baroque organs surviving today. Her recital of ‘Famous Organ Works’ offers an attractive survey, yet not actually any of Bach’s most famous works: it opens with a Toccata and Fugue in D minor – not ‘that’ one, but the ‘Dorian’, BWV 538. Played with almost dancing lightness and using registrations of bright transparency and bite, the performance has all the hallmarks of Kei Koito’s artistry and it sets the tone for interpretations of unfailing clarity and colour.
Even in a couple of quite early preludes and fugues, compact by comparison with the later ones, she makes you hang on every note. Highlights among the chorale preludes include a wonderfully registered ‘An Wasserflüssen Babylon’ and an exhilarating ‘Komm, Gott, Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist’, played with a bravura seldom found here; the modest, manuals-only Fantasia super ‘Jesu, meine Freude’ sounds superbly ethereal. The Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532, brings things to a brilliant and blazing close.