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Organ Masters Before Bach

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (8 April 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Eloquence
  • ASIN: B000066BN4
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 762,554 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

WALCHA HELMUT

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Format: Audio CD
This CD is a reminder that Walcha enjoyed the northern European Baroque organ composers as a whole, not just J S Bach! The disc is a small selection from the boxed set of vinyls he recorded in September 1977 to celebrate his 70th birthday following a complete renovation of the Cappel instrument.
Walcha's playing here is as lively and attractive as ever and he brings out the best of all 30 stops at his disposal. At times the Cappel organ seems to talk to you. I particularly liked his treatment of the decorated chorale by Tunder.
Dare we hope for a reissue of the entire programme one day? For the moment, though, we can enjoy this taster in which Walcha's unfailing artistry speaks for itself.
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9b4a418c) out of 5 stars 1 review
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d03bd08) out of 5 stars Attractive but dismayingly incomplete (and annotation-less) 4 Jan. 2005
By R. J. Stove - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Everything here comes from an Archiv Produktion anthology of the same title that Helmut Walcha (who died in 1991) recorded during the 1970s, originally occupying four LPs. In other words, the present CD - however well filled in terms of playing time - is dismayingly incomplete, and merely skims the surface of that splendid collection, which (like so many other boxed sets from its decade and earlier) remained available in Japan long after it fell out of print everywhere else. This is great for Nipponese music-lovers, but it grossly short-changes the rest of us.

What we do have here is mostly very attractive, Walcha's style being as superhumanly lucid and tactful as one would expect from his Bach recordings, though often with an improvisatory character which nothing in those recordings foreshadows. Pachelbel's F minor CHACONNE, a rather turgid work under lesser artists' hands, here has a very agreeable forward momentum yet never sounds the slightest bit breathless; it benefits also, as do all other items, from a wonderful instrument (the 18th-century Schnitger organ in Cappel, Germany). The sound quality is - dare one say - perfect: with pleasing resonance, yet no detail gets blurred.

Problems: (a) the periodically very sharp pitch (least bearable in the Buxtehude items, most bearable in the Georg Boehm piece), sometimes almost a semitone above A=440; (b) the fact that Deutsche Grammophon disdains to provide a solitary syllable of annotations, and fobs us off with advertising! In what is presumably a world first for the hard-sell approach, advertising even disfigures the jewel-box's plastic disc-tray. Boo hiss. Several of the composers here represented (Franz Tunder, Nikolaus Bruhns and Vincenz Luebeck, to name just a few) are lucky to get more than three lines in the average music dictionary. When one considers how Naxos manages to supply authoritative and often fascinating booklet essays - sometimes in French and German as well as in English - with its own CDs, at a lower price than is being asked for this issue, Deutsche Grammophon's attitude looks positively miserly. (For organ releases Naxos usually provides stop-lists as well.) But if didactic considerations are meaningless to you, and if it's merely assured organ playing you want, then look no further.
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