WORKS: buxtehude Organ Works, Vol. 5: BuxWV 136, 142-3, 150-3, 155, 158, 192, 194 Bel.5, 204-6, 208-9, 218, 221-2 bruhns Praeludium in E (the larger); Praeludium in E (the smaller); Nun komm der Heiden Heiland; Praeludium in G
PERFORMER: Ton Koopman (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CC 72249
With Organ Works Vol. 5 Ton Koopman completes the keyboard leg of his ongoing traversal of the complete works of Buxtehude. Yet if the playing sounds positively de-mob happy at times, it’s worth remembering that there’s always a streak of infectious exuberance eager to break surface in Koopman’s playing.
This quality finds a natural home in Buxtehude and gives Koopman’s survey the edge over Bine Bryndorf’s complete set, also on historic instruments. No one rises to the challenge of Baroque stylus phantasticus with as much relish and aplomb as Koopman. Declamatory scales flare like flashes of lightening – the end of the A minor Praeludium BuxWV 153 is particularly rich in arresting incident – and Koopman savours the louche tag in the first fugal section of BuxWV 136 like a seasoned Baroque blues singer!
For those new to Buxtehude’s organ works both the programming and the instrument make these discs the ideal hopping on point. Plaintive chorale elaborations supply contemplative respite from the full-on brilliance of the praeludia, and Koopman’s effortless authority and quicksilver articulation illuminate throughout. ‘A creative composer requires a creative interpreter,’ he says in the liner notes.
Certainly not for him a Buxtehude carved in marble by a well-meaning monumental mason; whether piecing together the musical jigsaws with pinpoint acuity, or probing the purposeful grandeur of the G minor Praeludium, BuxWV 150, Koopman rejoices in a man of flesh and blood, playfulness and science. As a ‘postscript’, the complete extant organ works of Buxtehude’s pupil, Bruhns, are quite simply the multi-coloured icing on the cake. Tuck in! Paul Riley