Buxtehude: Complete Organ Works Volume 2

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COMPOSERS: Buxtehude
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Works for Organ, Vol. 2: Chorale Fantasia, BuxWV218; Toccata in D minor, BuxWV155; Praeludium in G minor, BuxWV149 etc
PERFORMER: Christopher Herrick (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67809

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Christopher Herrick embarked on his Buxtehude pilgrimage in Helsingor where the young Dietrich honed his skills before succumbing to the organistic ‘bright lights’ of Lübeck. Vol. 2 decamps to Norway and the magnificent 1741 Wagner organ in Trondheim’s Nidaros Cathedral.

In possession of some pugnacious reeds and a thrilling ‘pleno’, it’s an ideal choice for a disc which includes some big-boned praeludia as well as Buxtehude’s most extended organ work: the imposing Chorale Fantasia on the Te Deum whose architectural acuity Herrick unfolds with magisterial authority – the ‘pleni sunt coeli’ replete with compelling sense of space as well as providing tantalising fragmentary anticipations of Bach’s great C minor Passacaglia.

As in Vol. 1, Herrick’s flair for apposite registration illuminates at every turn, and the first three notes of the opening G minor Praeludium serve notice that his phrasing will be nothing if not fastidious. (Ton Koopman on Channel Classics goes more for effect here, painting with a less detailed brush and is slightly brisker.)

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Herrick, however, is never out to score didactic points; he lets the music (and instrument) speak eloquently for themselves – charmingly fluty in the C major Canzona, unexpectedly perky at the start of the E minor Ciaccona and sonorously splendiferous for the final Praeludium in C. Paul Riley