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Bach: L'Oeuvre d'Orgue (The Organ Works) /Rogg [Box set]

Johann Sebastian Bach , Lionel Rogg Audio CD

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Lionel Rogg performs Organ Works of Johann Sebastian Bach on this 12CD set. The historic Silbermann organ in Arlesheim, Swizterland was used, this instrument was built in 1761 and restored about 50 years ago. A 106 page booklet in English and French is included to provide some informative notes on the 12 hours and 33 minutes of music.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificant Bach, magnificant organ, sound OK 24 Feb 2005
By Richard A. Ayers - Published on Amazon.com
This is thrilling music, well played on an organ representative of Bach's period. The harmonic structure of the pedal notes is wonderful and this recording seems to sort them out just fine. Its hard to believe that this organ is only 40+ ranks and was originally pumped by human power.

The "Passacaglia" is the finest I have heard, and I do not hear any noticable distortion on the low pedal notes. In fact this recording from the early seventies is more listenable than many newer digital recordings made recently. Also, I listen to this music at levels comparable to those experienced in the church environment.

I am completely satisfied with this boxed set and listen to it often. I advise anyone buy this set based on artistry and musical content and not worry about the sound. It's OK.

I do not understand why this set does not come up on Amazon's Bach Organ works listing. I had to find it under Lionel Rogg.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BACH ORGAN WORKS: Lionel Rogg 30 Jan 2012
By M. Pont - Published on Amazon.com
I would like to add that I have all these 3 sets of Bach Organ Works, performed by Lionel Rogg for the Oryx, EMI & Harmonia Mundi record labels.

As a student, I idealized his mid-1960's 'Oryx Recordings'. But yesterday, I serviced my old Rotel turntable and replayed some of the LPs from the Oryx series; comparing them against my EMI remastered, mid-1970's CD versions,(also played by Rogg on 'modern' organs) - and then my 'Harmonia Mundi' CD set on a Silbermann Organ.

Sorry, but I don't know how anyone today can be content, after listening to the original technical sound quality emanating from the LP's! Apart from the 'snap, crackle & pop', the stereo sound is narrow and compressed. There is no really wide, dynamic, aural spectrum either. Also, one notices the really low-signal to high-noise ratio. Thank God for the wonders of digital remastering, otherwise you'd fail to appreciate much of Rogg's interpretive detailing.

I had deluded myself, entertaining once-rosy memories, gained in the early 1970's. No way would I praise Rogg's 1960's recordings as being 'more authentic.' Let's say the Oryx recordings were groundbreaking for their time, but now there are 2 other series, newly remastered onto the CD format, which better proclaim and capture Rogg's interpretive skills.

Bach organ buffs may also care to purchase the excellent 15-CD 'Berlin Classics' series, (re-released approx 2008). All these very early (1960's-1972) former VEB/edel/East German State recordings use several wonderful, different sized, GDR located, Silbermann organs. They also benefit from a 'sonic-soundmapping'(?) i.e. ADD reprocessing, which translates as "VERY presentable; clean, wide-ranging sound." The 10 different East German organ virtuosi (emanating from the former DDR's musical schools in Dresden, Weimar & Leipzig), furnish one's ear with very thrilling, clearly articulated performances.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exquisite definitive performances 12 Nov 2005
By Eric Meece - Published on Amazon.com
This is the first, and best, recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach Organ Works I have heard. Lionel Rogg's performances are smooth and flawless. I usually feel I have not heard an organ work by Bach until I have heard Rogg's recording on the Silbermann organ at Arlesheim in 1970, which this boxed set presents. The Toccatas and Fugues are the highlight; especially the fabulous Toccata in F Major. I have played this piece by this organist more than any recording in my life. His rendition of the usually least-admired Toccata in E made me admire it fully for the first time. Usually his performances are the best and definitive versions of each piece. The dramatic feel, tempo and phrasing are the best I've heard. Occasionally other versions of the smaller chorales are more engaging than Rogg's. The Arlesheim organ is also rather small, although powerful; and the sound of the organ doesn't vary too much from disc to disc through the 12 CDs. I don't know why one reviewer complained about the "sound" however; it is fabulous and all notes are extraordinariily clear on all pieces. Also, it's not a complete set of Bach organ works, but that does not make it any less essential to anyone who wants to own recordings of the Master's organ works.

NOT Johann Michael Bach! How did that get there?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful presentation of the organ music of Bach 20 May 2013
By Silver Belle - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
As a young organ student, old musician, I am truly enjoying these recordings by Lionel Rogg. His registrations highlight the musical lines of Bach's music, especially in the fugues. His articulations are clear and concise, making it easy for a young organist to hear how to phrase the music and how to execute the ornaments. I highly recommend these recordings for anyone studying organ or the organ music of J. S. Bach.
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 14 April 2008
By Dermot Elworthy - Published on Amazon.com
For those unfamiliar with Lionel Rogg's superlative Bach cycle done in Zürich in the early 'sixties, this set may well prove entirely satisfactory; the reviews here suggest it does and I would not wish my opinions to spoil others' enjoyment of these recordings but I'm bound to say I'm disappointed that this present set is nothing like the original.

The earlier recordings were made using the modern Metzler instrument in the Großmünster and were very widely acclaimed at the time; indeed, they were regarded as being closer to "definitive" than any other set then extant. I continue to regard these extraordinarily fine performances in the same light but playing my collection of very tired LPs has to be rationed. In my judgment the later offering is bland and uninspired, both in performance and choice of registrations - it conveys the impression that Lionel Rogg has "been there, done that" which, of course, he has but it doesn't have to be so obvious. Quality of recording is a little inconsistent and never above average.

Furthermore, an instrument for this programme more appropriate than the organ at Arlesheim might have been chosen; the fact that it is a Silbermann is no guarantee of suitability in respect of Bach performances. This one is by Johann Silbermann, nephew of the great Gottfried Silbermann who built glorious instruments in the North German tradition; a tradition with which Bach's writing indissolubly is joined but the works of brother Andreas Silbermann were couched in a markedly French idiom. His organs, generally, are very fine - the larger of his instruments in Freiburg Cathedral being a good example - but his sons who carried on the business continued in his strong Alsatian bias evident at Arlesheim. As is characteristic of so many Silbermann instruments, this one is lacking in the pedal division.

Sadly, there is no established "Bach organ" specification - we can only conjecture (and, I think, fairly accurately) what this might have been from the instruments of builders like Hildebrandt, Trost and Wender but regardless of speculation, the Arlesheim Silbermann is not even on the short list.

If this review seems a little sour, it is because I fail to understand why Rogg/Harmonia Mundi, after some forty five years of "hibernation", wasted an opportunity to transfer what was a brilliantly performed, superbly recorded and universally acclaimed product to CD. By comparison, the present offering is very mediocre and I no longer have it in my library.

Of the Bach recordings currently available, I would recommend those by Walcha, Fagius or Ritchie. These recordings, particularly the George Ritchie set which benefits from outstanding audio quality and instruments superbly suited to the task - just listen to the Paul Fritts at the Pacific Lutheran University to hear what I mean - are choices preferred to this Harmonia Mundi lack-lustre collection.
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