Buxtehude: Suite in C, BuxWV 226; Suite in D minor, BuxWV 233; Toccata in G, BuxWV 165, Fugue in B flat, BWV 176

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COMPOSERS: Buxtehude
LABELS: Dacapo
WORKS: Suite in C, BuxWV 226; Suite in D minor, BuxWV 233; Toccata in G, BuxWV 165, Fugue in B flat, BWV 176
PERFORMER: Lars Ulrik Mortensen (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.224116
Today, Buxtehude’s keyboard works are most often played on the organ, which perhaps explains why this glorious music hasn’t reached a wider audience. Yet, as Mortensen’s recording amply proves, much of this repertoire is equally – if not more – effective on the harpsichord. His thoughtfully planned programme offers a taste of several of the genres Buxtehude developed, including variations, short, free compositions and chorale settings. But the bulk of the disc is given over to three suites, works which have a marked French flavour with their elegantly ornamented lines and use of ‘stile brisé’ – the lute-influenced style which Mortensen enhances by using the harpsichord’s lute stop. This intimate music is offset by the finely wrought counterpoint and virtuoso writing of Buxtehude’s toccatas, fugues and canzonettas. Mortensen clearly has a particular affinity with this repertoire and few harpsichordists could draw out its many layers with such poetry. I particularly admired his liquid playing of the Allemande d’Amour and the meltingly beautiful Sarabande of the same suite, as well as the fiery impetuosity of the G major Toccata. His harpsichord is a penetrating but sonorous-sounding instrument based on a Ruckers, its mean-tone tuning creating some distinctively sweet and sour sonorities. Kate Bolton

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