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Franck: The Organ Works

2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Cesar Franck
  • Audio CD (19 Jun. 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Regis Records
  • ASIN: B00006FN23
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 250,451 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. De Rivaz on 19 Mar. 2010
Format: Audio CD
I cannot speak too highly of the sound that the organ makes in the hands of Jennifer Bate and in the over the top acoustic of St Pierre de Beauvais Cathedral. A wonderful treat and very, very French!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LCB on 2 May 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I purchased the CD as the recommended recording from BBC Radio 3 Building a library. First, I tried listening to it in the car while driving, but the reed sound is so resonant everything was mush. Now it's reserved for listening in a quiet setting. I'm studying the first chorale, so I need a clearer sound. Great for atmosphere though, and the authentic French sound for this repertoire
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lively playing by Matthias Eisenberg of Bach works on a gorgeous Baroque organ 22 Jun. 2012
By Kenneth Bergman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Bach, probably the greatest organist of all time, is well known for his prelude-fugue combinations, a form that he inherited from Buxtehude and modified to suit his own style. His earliest ventures in this form were written in his 20's in Arnstadt, but many of the best known preludes (or toccatas or fantasias) and fugues were composed later at Weimar. When he became a cantor in Leipzig, Bach again took up the organ, revising some of his earlier works and composing some of his greatest preludes and fugues, among them BWV 544 in B-minor, 548 in E-minor (with the "wedge" fugue), and the prelude of 546 in C-minor. They are performed by Matthias Eisenberg on this CD, along with an earlier prelude and fugue, BWV 541 in G, that Bach originally composed at Weimar and revised in Leipzig, and the fugue of 546 that was also composed earlier and attached by Bach to the new prelude.

Additionally, three of Bach's chorale preludes are included on this disk: BWV 659, 653, and 655. These are believed to be revised versions of chorale preludes originally written in Weimar and are part of a set of 15 that Bach wrote down in his latest years. They are among his most sublime compositions, especially BWV 653: "An Wasserflussen Babylon."

Except in a few cases, Bach did not put tempo markings on his organ compositions, nor did he indicate registration or manual selection. So these aspects of the music are left up to the performer. Bach's organ works have often been played deliberately and sometimes rather ponderously, as if seeking out profundity in the music. But modern scholarship by Anthony Newman and others suggests that such performances are probably slower than what Bach intended. His contemporaries reportedly said that Bach used surprisingly brisk tempos. Eisenberg is clearly of the newer school that believes in using faster tempos. In general, I favor his faster tempos, having heard too many plodding performances of these works. But sometimes he is too fast, as noted below.

I like Eisenberg's choice of tempo for BWV 546. The dramatic prelude is impressively played, and the rather doleful fugue benefits from a faster tempo than usual. Eisenberg uses a plenum registration throughout the prelude, even in the fugal episodes, for which many organists use a lighter registration. The same comment applies to the similarly constructed prelude of BWV 544. Eisenberg takes the fugue of 544 rather fast, and its monumental character is weakened as a result.

The prelude of BWV 541 is marked "vivace," but in Eisenberg's hands it becomes "presto," and it's a race to the final chord. I don't think Bach intended it to be this fast. The fugue starts out at a more appropriate tempo but speeds up later and rushes to a conclusion. This might be bravura playing, but it's not very musical in my opinion. On the other hand, I can't say enough good things about BWV 548, which is one of Bach's greatest organ works. The tempos of both the prelude and fugue keep things moving, but not too fast. The registrations used are fine throughout, with in this case lighter stops in the prelude episodes and in the long middle section of the fugue. This is a stupendous work, splendidly played here!

Eisenberg performs credibly in the chorale preludes. His choice of stops for BWV 653 "By the Waters of Babylon" results in gorgeous sound. I found myself wishing that it could go on forever. BWV 659 and 655 are also affectingly played. The two-manual organ on which Eisenberg performs is that of the castle church of Altenberg and dates from 1739, contemporary with the time the pieces on this CD were composed or revised. This organ has beautiful sound and has been very well recorded. For sound quality, it's one of the best CD's of organ music that I own. The pamphlet that comes with the CD lists all of the stops (in German) for the instrument and discusses Bach's compositional style but doesn't say anything about the performer. I had to look up Eisenberg on-line. He's well known in Germany, but not in the U.S. His skill in playing the organ is very impressive.

I have difficulty in giving an overall evaluation of this CD. BWV 541 is a sore point, but it's balanced by the playing of BWV 548, which is the best performance of this great work that I've ever heard. This CD may be worth getting just for that reason.

A footnote: The Altenberg organ is tuned a half-step higher than A=440. Thus written C sounds as C-sharp and E sounds as F.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great Recording 7 Dec. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have to say that this is a very awesome recording of the Orgelbuchlein. I'm currently studying under Murray Forbes Somerville, and I have to say that this is a very exquisite recording. Without question, his use of different pipes and tones to recreate Bach's music, and his attention to detail really make this a recording to have. So many people try to interpret Bach's music, but I believe that Murray is one of the very few organists who have dedicated their lives to recreating the music the way they feel that Bach would have wanted it. Ornamentations, and legato notes, especially in the pedal, are treated very seriously in this piece. This is a recording that all students of the Orgelbuchlein should have.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent renditions of J.S. Bach organ works! 20 April 2014
By CQ DX - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This J.S. Bach Toccata And Fugue recording is excellent in all regards! The performances themselves sound precise and as they should, and you get over and hour of masterful Bach organ works played in good venues (churches, concert halls, etc.). The recording quality is excellent as well. From my experience, DENON does excellent work capturing performances. Play this on a good stereo system with speakers that can reproduce low frequencies well, and you will FEEL the pipes reverberating in your home!
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