Collection: Great European Organs No. 49
COMPOSERS: CPE Bach,Kittel,Krebs,Krieger,Muffat,Praetorius,Rembt,Scheidt
WORKS: Works by Scheidt, Praetorius, Krieger, Muffat, Krebs, Kittel, Rembt & CPE Bach
PERFORMER: John Kitchen (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: PRCD 627
The Ahrend organ at Edinburgh University is a two-manual instrument with a flat pedalboard and 20 speaking stops. The voicing is direct and clear, and it’s tuned according to the physical rules of mean-tone temperament – that is to say, the major thirds are in tune, the fifths are slightly narrow, and differences between the major and minor seconds are smoothed out.
Consequently, the more extreme keys sound slightly out of tune (most obviously in the CPE Bach Fantasia, from 0:26 mins). But this was the normal tuning system for keyboard instruments until well into JS Bach’s lifetime, and I cannot see many people being bothered by it. The variety of tone is impressive, and John Kitchen, the university organist and senior lecturer in music, is a wizard at selecting just the right combination of stops for every occasion.
Listen to the well-conceived registration in the first of two chorale preludes by Krebs and the sparkle of Rembt’s jaunty F major Trio. The repertoire, also, is attractive, encompassing the relentless early Baroque tread of Praetorius’s Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren, as well as CPE Bach’s more passionate style. The specification of the organ, and an outline of its history, are printed in the booklet note.