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Bach, J.S.: The Organ Works (17 CDs) [Box set]

Peter Hurford Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Nov 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 17
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B0000041KD
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 231,502 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

NO BOOKLET NO BROCHURE ENCLOSED

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unreservedly recommended. 19 Dec 2002
By John Austin HALL OF FAME TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
Happy the organist, like Peter Hurford, who can record over a period of twelve years in countries such as Germany, Austria, England, Australia, USA and Canada the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach! Exploring the way Bach mind works must be the most rewarding experience for which a practising musician could wish.
Peter Hurford did all this, between 1974 and 1986. The result is this tightly packed box of 17 CDs. It is possibly the largest recorded survey of Bach's works for organ. It includes items that some researchers believe are of doubtful authenticity. Hurford uses mainly C20th organs, or organs that incorporate piping from earlier originals. Registrations occasionally include a discrete tremolo, such as may be heard in the Chorale Prelude "Auf meinen lieben Gott" BWV 744. When you hear the sound fade and disappear at the end of the 16th CD, don't suspect a technical fault. The work being played, Prelude and Fugue in G Minor, BWV 535a, was left incomplete by Bach.
Clifford Bartlett has written the accompanying notes, reproduced in English French, German and Italian. Organ specifications are detailed, and recording dates and locations are specified.
When your hands are busy with four manuals and ranks of organ stops, and when your feet are playing a footboard, it is difficult to maintain a flowing and consistent pulse in the music. Peter Hurford, in my estimation, "never puts a foot wrong" in this regard. Tempos are never irregular, either for reasons of expressiveness or because of physical coordination difficulties.

This well-presented issue is one of the few to receive a rosette award in the "Penguin Bargain Guide to CDs".
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I grew up on Helmut Walsha, then on to Ton Koopman on Novalis. Then I realised I ought to expand my collection. This box set arrived, and I cranked up the tubes and sat back. I have to say it was a shock. Initially I was a bit disappointed. The timing was quite different, the pieces I thought I knew so well were lighter, more airy. I listened on and into the night, and found my initial reaction was unfounded. Peter Hurford has, I truly believe, got to the heart of this music, the detail is remarkable, the playing so natural, the emotion just pours out of the speakers.
Treble details flows out across the room like I have never heard, and the big pipes rumble beneath the set, and all retaining a remarkable church acoustic.
Forget all that has gone before, buy it and listen, but don't stay up to late!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without Equal 7 Sep 2009
Format:Audio CD
Time and space prohibit us from reviewing individually all 17 cds that comprise Peter Hurford's recordings of J.S. Bach organ works. Suffice to say, an overview is the most appropriate, as each of these recordings are better than the next. You simply cannot pick one out and say this is the finest, because these recordings shall never be equaled or improved upon, as they are the diamond standard by which all future ones hall be judged.
Hurford without doubt is the reincarnation of Bach, when he sits before the organ. As he plays, the emotion flows forth, without any sense of constraint or self doubt, because he is united with Johann Sebastian. He has a certain lightness of touch, be it in the lower or upper register, which gives one the sensation of intense emotion, as you listen to this glorious music, played with warmth and clarity, which befits Bach's composition.
The organs chosen are a perfect alliance for the particular pieces played upon them, best exemplified by Wachet Auf, ruft uns die stimme, BWV 645 [8/2]; beautifully played on the magnificent Casavant Freres organ in the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, Toronto, Canada; Liebstr Jesu wir sind hier, BWV 754 [17/16] and Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 763 [17/24] recorded in St. Catherine's College Chapel, Cambridge,U.K., where this superb organ, Hurford, Bach and the Chapel's acoustics are in absolute unison. You cannot ask for more, because this is it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely excellent recording 2 Feb 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Super recording - saves having to worry about getting a whole load of possibly overlapping disks separately. There is a huge amount of variety in the organ music Bach composed - something here for every mood. Highly recommended!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unreservedly recommended. 19 Dec 2002
By John Austin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Happy the organist, like Peter Hurford, who can record over a period of twelve years in countries such as Germany, Austria, England, Australia, USA and Canada the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach! Exploring the way Bach's mind works must be the most rewarding experience for which a practising musician could wish.
Peter Hurford did all this, between 1974 and 1986. The result is this tightly packed box of 17 CDs. It is possibly the largest recorded survey of Bach's works for organ. It includes items that some researchers believe are of doubtful authenticity. Hurford uses mainly C20th organs, or organs that incorporate piping from earlier originals. Registrations occasionally include a discrete tremolo, such as may be heard in the Chorale Prelude "Auf meinen lieben Gott" BWV 744. When you hear the sound fade and disappear at the end of the 16th CD, don't suspect a technical fault. The work being played, Prelude and Fugue in G Minor, BWV 535a, was left incomplete by Bach.
Clifford Bartlett has written the accompanying notes, reproduced in English French, German and Italian. Organ specifications are detailed, and recording dates and locations are specified.
When your hands are busy with four manuals and ranks of organ stops, and when your feet are playing a footboard, it is difficult to maintain a flowing and consistent pulse in the music. Peter Hurford, in my estimation, "never puts a foot wrong" in this regard. Tempos are never irregular, either for reasons of expressiveness or because of physical coordination difficulties.

This well-presented issue is one of the few to receive a rosette award in the "Penguin Bargain Guide to CDs".
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The music and playing are stunning 8 Mar 2000
By Jeffrey Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I was drawn to this stunning collection while searching nostalgically for Bach organ works that I recalled from school in the 1960s. Every morning for the six years I attended, chapel services at my school began and ended with Bach preludes and fugues, beautifully played on the school's pipe organ by a clever organist who was abruptly fired the last year I attended. --Rumor had it the not-so-nice new headmaster dismissed the organist because he was gay.-- While I can still hear many of those Bach preludes in the voice of that organ in my mind's ear, I never learned their names.
As I started to rush through this collection listening for familiar bits, I found not only the themes that I remembered, but also great many jubilant surprises. Peter Hurford interpretations are simple and straightforward but extraordinary, as are the sound quality and his imaginative play on the instrument. Any one of the 17 CDs in the collection could easily stand by itself. This is not your usual complete collection. Buy it and listen; be lifted by the sounds and the clean, imaginative playing again and again!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EMPHATICALLY 5 stars! 27 Feb 2004
By altoman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Bach's organ works place incredible demands on the performer, both physically (consider the endurance it takes to play the massive Toccata in F major), technically (the Trio Sonatas, among many others), and interpretationally. Peter Hurford triumphantly meets those demands in a spectacular set of recordings.
To those who are doubters: listen to the (in)famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor, that overplayed warhorse. Hurford brings to it an electricity that makes you feel you are hearing it for the first time again. He also has an amazing ear for registrations, one of the most underestimated difficulties of an organist's art, never wearying the ear, but using a wide palette of colors. [Bach himself was widely known for his innovative registrational practices. Contemporaries remarked that when he was testing organs he would pull combinations of stops that they were certain would sound badly together, only to find that he had created an entirely new sound. Thus, creative registrations should not offend purists in any way.]
Hurford's approach to these works obviously takes into consideration, but is certainly not bound by, historically informed performing practices. His phrasing is immaculate, and consistently interesting. In all, this is a stunning accomplishment.
GET THIS WHILE IT REMAINS AVAILABLE. The classical recording industry is in trouble, and the deletions axe is constantly falling. Large, expensive sets like this are sure to go. While the price itself appears high, it is really very reasonable, running under $8 per disc.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The nearest you will get to Bach without a time machine! 19 Nov 2003
By "kjhoyes" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I grew up on Helmut Walsha, then on to Ton Koopman on Novalis. Then I realised I ought to expand my collection. The box set arrived, and I cranked up the tubes a sat back. I have to say it was a shock. Initially I was a bit disappointed. The timing was quite different, the pieces I knew so well were lighter, more airy. I listened on and into the night, and found my initial reaction was unfounded. Peter Hurford has, I truly believe, got to the heart of the pieces, the detail is remarkable, the playing so natural, the emotion just pours out of the speakers.
Treble details flows out across the room like I have never heard, and the big pipes rumble beneath the set, and all retaining a remarkable church acoustic.
Forget all that has gone before, buy it and listen, but don't stay up to late!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good collection of Bach's complete organ music 15 Mar 1999
By verlee@maine.maine.edu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Hurford is outstanding in these performances and I never get tired of listening to his playing. The organs range from the massive Ratzeburg Cathedral to smaller but authentic "German" baroque organs, all with mechanical tracker action. The famous Toccata and Fuge in d features unbelievable sounds from the Ratzeburg organ, best heard with a very large subwoofer and a very powerful amplifier. But there are other organs which are equally magnificent, too. His registrations are always imaginative, sometimes surprising. His technique is flawless. If you want all of Bach's organ music, you can't go wrong with this one.
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