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on 7 January 2012
J.S.Bach: Complete Organ Works (Michel Chapuis)
I have owned the Valois Chapuis Bach recordings since they were issued around 1989 and consider them a reference standard. In detailed comparisons with Fagius, Newman, Ritchie and Walcha I found that Chapuis came out on top about two-thirds of the time. This remastered collection of Chapuis has three advantages over the original CDs and only one disadvantage: 1. They are much cheaper; 2. There are no longer any preeemphasized discs; 3. The correct polarity has been incorporated (several of the originals were in reverse polarity). The one disadvantage is the absense of the original notes, so if you have the 1989 booklets be sure to keep them.
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on 28 December 2011
Blink and you may find these have disappeared again, so grab them while you can at this silly low price.
I've owned these for over 20 years, from when they were issued as individual cd's and at proper retail prices...ouch.
I'm still waiting to hear a collection that is better as a whole, and I've heard many.
As the Amazon description correctly says these are faultless registrations.
That cannot be said for the eccentric, sometimes lumpy choices found in other recordings, like those of Peter Hurford and others.
Of course no one set will cover Bach... it's worth having a few interpretations.

I do not know if the marvellous liner notes of the original releases (by Harry Halbreich) are included in this bargain price reissue.
If not it will be a loss, because even they are sometimes quite moving, but that is in itself an indication of what we are being presented with in human endeavour.
Listening to these and other recordings many years ago I discovered that the music of Bach goes beyond what might be imagined possible in art.
Nothing I've heard since has changed that conviction and I will always return to his music.
Other things atrophy or fall away, but he remains. He resides serenely and majestically above the rest.
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on 17 February 2014
I bought Chapuis' complete survey of Bach on vinyl when it first appeared (only getting rid of it for reasons of space) and I enjoyed it so much that I took the opportunity of seeing Chapuis perform live at the Royal Festival Hall. Some of the critics seemed to find fault with his tempi so, since I am no Bach expert, I decided to investigate other sets when repurchasing the organ works on CD. Over the decades I've owned Rogg (on Harmonia Mundi), who I found rather dull, Hurford (on Decca) who seems rather eccentric at times and Preston (on DGG) who I have found very satisfactory and whose set I currently own. However, there were aspects of Chapuis' set that I missed and I recently purchased it again as a download at the ridiculously cheap price offered above. I do not mind not having notes, because I can always refer to those in the Preston set.
Comparing Chapuis' account with Preston's, I find that the former does favour rather faster tempi and also brighter registrations which give his fast passage work a silvery quality as the notes flash by (this is aided by the recording which is especially good at capturing the high frequencies), although I have to add that the ear can tire a little of his fondness for the 1 foot stop (particularly in the Trio Sonatas). However, Chapuis is an imaginative organist and I find comparison with Preston very interesting. A good example of this is the Fantasia and Fugue in C minor BVW 537 of which both he and Preston seem to have similar ideas, electing to play the Fantasia quietly. Naturally Preston uses reduced registration for this, but Chapuis goes a whole step further in selecting the quietest stops with the result that the opening has an ethereal quality.
I am very happy to renew acquaintance with Chapuis' Bach and I find his interpretations a satisfying alternative to the more mainstream ones of Preston and others. The remastered recordings are clear and immediate, coping with the live acoustics of the venues very well so that little is lost, even in fast passages (just occasionally detail is obscured). This set is a fine challenge to other versions and, for those who like their Bach on the bright side, this would be a good choice, particularly considering the low price.
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on 24 April 2014
Michel Chapuis is clearly an outstanding player. Some of his tempi in the great Preludes and Fugues, particularly the Prelude and Fugue in b minor, are slightly too fast for my personal taste, although as an organist myself, I wish I could play Bach like this.

Other than this slight criticism, I believe that this is an outstanding set of Bach's organ works by a player who is a master in the choice of registrations. The instruments that he has chosen to record these works on also sound fabulous. I believe that at this price this set is an absolute must for lovers of the organ music of Bach.

P BOSWELL
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on 29 September 2014
A mio parere la più grande interpretazione delle opere per organo di Bach. Basti ascoltare l'esecuzione della Passacaglia per rendersi conto delle vette raggiunte da Chapuis. Ci sono edizioni con eccellenti organisti, penso a Helmut Walcha soprattutto, ma quella di Chapuis è inarrivabile.
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on 8 January 2014
Its all here and as one would expect there is some glorious music played without signs of embellishment, Will have to take it in small doses as Bach blows my mind if I don;t break of to re-group.
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on 19 October 2013
Good value. Good playing, a different approach to Walcha and others but very enjoyable. A fine selection of organs including the Zwolle treasure.
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on 15 June 2012
I have four LPs of Bach's organ works plus five LPs of Buxtehude's (complete) organ works played by Michel Chapuis. I had considered buying this set of CDs but - since I wished to purchase simultaneously a complete set of Bach's cantatas - I thought it wise to listen first to the two LPs that I had of Bach's German Organ Mass. (It is a reasonable bet that the CDs are transcriptions from tapes that were used to produce the LPs that I have.) The listening confirmed my impression from the memory of hearing all nine LPs: Chapuis' interpretations tend to have an organ tone that leans a little too much towards the "flute" tone as opposed to the "diapason" tone so common in the UK.

If you like the "flute-like" sound then this is the set for you. I tend to gravitate towards the interpretations by Walcha and Rogg with their less "flute-like", and thus to me more "organ like", sound.

One other complaint I have is that some pieces are played too fast on the LPs. Excessive playing speed is a minus as far as I am concerned because one should be able - or at least almost able - to hear every note in fast passages. I once went to the Royal Festival Hall with a friend to hear a recital by Ralph Downes. Part of it consisted of a trio sonata by Bach but it was played so fast that my friend would have been hardly able to follow the notes. Actually I did not enjoy it much because of the excessive playing speed and I was familiar with the piece! Excessive playing speed can obscure the structure of the music despite the greatest virtuosity of the performer.

This CD collection is worth getting but since I have Bach's complete organ works by Rogg (most of the old LP set & a newer CD set), Walcha, Kraft, Jacob, Claire-Alain I am reluctant to add this one. I do have what I feel is the poorest interpretation that I ever heard - the one played by Rubsam (a Naxos set) and I just never bother to listen to it at all these days because I really dislike the interpretation.
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on 10 April 2015
Excellent performance
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on 14 April 2015
Wonderful bargain of Bach's complete organ works played with great dexterity and authority. I would have liked more variety in the specifications used. The choice of stops was a tad tiresome in places and some of the pieces lacked excitement because of this, i.e. The Trio Sonatas and the Fantasia in G - the final section was very under-stated and undynamic. Having said this, I am pleased to have this collection and the recording quality is amazing for the period.
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