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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Bach, JS : Organ Works - Complete
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£28.16+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 19 February 2015
I thought a long time before buying this set, as I was doing a grand tour through a number of recordings. The existing reviews here, with the exception of one, were characterised by largely unfettered enthusiasm, which on occasion can mean a lot of things.
Having now heard this set, I can say that my doubts were entirely unwarranted for the excitement of the other reviewers is but a measure of how extremely good this collection is. Excellent sound illuminates the vitality, dash, vigour and delight in Koopman's playing of these works. The instruments he has chosen are beautiful in sound and depth and perfect for the repertoire and his ornamentation is entirely apposite and very refreshing to hear. The presence of the Amsterdam Baroque Choir for the chorales/chorale preludes is graceful and an excellent addition to the presentation displaying how astonishing Bach's ability was to 'spin' a variation on a chorale and make it new and wondrous.
The reviewer who was unhappy with the acoustic for the Trio Sonatas is correct only in the fact that they are not closely recorded. However, the sound is both very detailed and ethereal and reflects both the instrument (which is stunning and used to great effect in some of the larger works) and the church itself. They are just recorded differently and the effect is beautiful.
This is an exciting, vital and extremely enjoyable performance of these amazing works in brilliant sound. All enthusiasm justified.
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on 6 June 2010
Ton Koopman has recorded Bach organ music for a number of labels including Novalis, DG, Hanssler, and Teldec (complete). The first issues of this Teldec series are now out of print.

The prices people are asking for used copies are pretty high but fortunately Teldec have reissued the entire set at a very reasonable price. I recommend people acquire this set sooner rather than later, before sellers put "collecter's" prices on it.

Koopman started but never finished a series in the '80's for the Novalis label. I think these must be the ones offered very cheaply on the Brilliant label. I have only one of those, Vol 2 that I bought on Ebay for $.01! That Novalis set may not be quite as well recorded as these Teldec issues and though the notes are quite good, the Teldec series has essays by the outstanding Bach scholar, Christoph Wolff.

Recorded in different locations in Germany, Austria and The Netherlands, Koopman uses authentic instruments (unlike Peter Hurford) and with ideal microphone placement (except possibly in the Trio Sonatas). These are beautiful sounding recordings. The deep bass response in this set is the best I've heard in all my Bach organ CD's.

Koopman always raised a few eyebrows with his ideas about added ornamentation. Some might call it improvisation! This did not bother me in the slightest. The playing is at times quite exciting, virtoustic and dramatic so the recordings are never dull. Exception: possibly at times in the Trio Sonatas.

In addition, these performances do not disdain what one might call the "Gothic" atmosphere in Bach.

The documentation is very fine with a brief article on the music, a history of each organ usually with pictures, and sometimes an additional essay on the music by Koopman with each disc.

Possibly even better were Wolfgang Rubsam's series for Philips (sorry, also out of print!), far better than his eccentric recordings done later for Naxos. However, I think Rubsam's used only two non-period instruments wheareas with Koopman we get a little European travelogue of organs from Bach's time!
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VINE VOICEon 12 December 2010
Brilliant Classics licensed this set from BIS and it's also in their ear-boggling Bach Edition (which I'm slowly working my way through and how I own this set) Complete Works 155 CD Box Set (although I see that this has recently come out in a different box; best check the contents). Most of the individual 2-CD sets are still available from BIS at £25 a pop! Bit of a "no brainer" really, if you want Fagius' interpretations.J.S. Bach - Complete Organ Music is the current BIS release, although this is, I believe, an SACD-only MP3-type set.

Just a few years ago, I would have never had thought of listening to organ music of any type (well, Saint-Saens' symphony, perhaps), but an acquaintance can play quite well, and after listening to him practice one quiet summer afternoon in a Somerset church, I was spellbound! Actually, he played me some Bach, Buxtehude, and Reger, all of which caught my ears and mind once removed from the noise of modern life.

Some reviwers seem to hate Bach played in the way Fagius (and Alain, Koopman,Rubsam, et al) does, preferring, for example, Walcha Bach, J.S.: Organ Works; without wishing to engage in any kind of argument about registration and the suchlike, Fagius' set sounds fine to me when I want to dip into some of Bach's most heartfelt works.

Recommended for the initiate!
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on 1 July 2009
Hans Fagius (born 1951, now an organ professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music) initially recorded the organ works of J S Bach for the Swedish label BIS in the eighties - the series received highest recommendations when it was first issued.

This box from Brilliant Classics contains all those individual CDs packed nicely in paper sleeves inside a wallet.

Fagius plays on five restored Swedish organs, i.e.:
- the Kristine Church organ (Falun);
- the 1728 Cahman organ (Leufista Bruk);
- the Matts Arvidsson organ (Mariefred Church);
- the Nils-Olof Berg organ (Mission Church, Uppsala);
- the 1764 Wahlberg organ (Fredrikskyrkan, Karlskrona).

The sound is excellent, the church acoustics finely caught but never overwhelming.

The notes, by Fagius, are magnificent. I don't think one can learn more about Bach's organ works from the liner notes included in any other complete (more or less...) sets on the market.

The interpretation is splendid: highly enjoyable, even though there is no fancy stuff here, only the best scholarly (in the better sense of the word) rendition.

Fagius uses every resource available and displays a variety of styles, sometimes painting with a thick brush and sometimes sketching with a fine pen, but always bringing to light the genial substance and the depth of these works. While listening, you are being taught by a wonderful teacher - about beauty, majesty, history, musical structures... Maybe even life?
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on 20 February 2012
Please do not turn away from this box set if you've read any negative review.
This is an incredible set of Bach's organ works by an outstanding and
very experienced organist, who is also a very fine conductor of symphony
orchestras as well. The cd's in this set are all reissues of original
recordings done in individual volumes between 1995-99. They have been
out of print for many years now, and are now worth much individually.
The Teldec/Warner label has now brought them all back to life in this
wonderfully complete reissued set by Ton Koopman. I've had the originals
vol.1 and vol.2 cd's of the old first issues for many years now. And I was
truly in awe by T. Koopman's performances the very first time I had heard
them years ago. And I do in fact get goosebumps every time I hear them to this
day! There are also a lot of remarkably beautiful sung choral works in vol. 2.
I've never had the rest of T.K.'s recorded volumes in this series of his
complete Bach organ works from Teldec....until now! And I must say that the
rest of his recordings in this set are just phenomenal! I have been a great
lover of organ music most of my life, and especially of J.S. Bach. I have
heard many performers, and many variations of great organ works. Every organist
is different with their own approach to music. Mr. Koopman is among my very favorites,
he truly shines, and he definitely knows his stuff. And also, the organs T.K. uses here
in this series are very resounding and (as one reviewer already noted) atmospheric.
I am so very happy with this boxed set. I think that this is without a doubt, one
of the best investments I have ever made! I can not praise it enough. It is a real
dream come true for me to finally have this set...and fully complete too! In my own
opinion, this is THE one Bach organ works set to own, if you have none at all! There are
quite a few other fine J.S. Bach organ works sets out there as well, by some very
excellent performers. Each organist has their own unique (and yes, "great") individual
talents and abilities. I strive to look for only the best in them all...including Ton
Koopman. So please, take a chance...and give Ton Koopman a chance! Consider your
having this fine set before it may be discontinued for good...which so often happens with
things as fine as this! Don't let someone's negative review influence your decision...
...Grab this set while you still can! It is a treat for the ears, and unquestionably a
real treasure! And it is well worth the money!

I hope this review has been of help.

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on 27 July 2011
I was really looking forwards to receiving my complete Bach organ works box set with Ton Koopman. I listened to a few pieces but... what a mess! There is no clear audio definition. Harmonies and counterpoint sound all jumbled up with no proper articulation. Bass lines are rushed and all in all to my ears (I am used to the clean lines of E Power Biggs it is true) it sounds like a bit of a road accident! Whose idea was it for instance to record the Trio Sonatas, which are intimate pieces, from what sounds like the back of the church (or even the vestry!)?? I don't know whether the problem is the recording or the choice of registrations but I'm afraid I won't be listening to these again. For those that want crystal clear and inspirational recordings try E Power Biggs.
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on 21 March 2011
These are wonderful performances - and being recorded by Bis, are in truly excellent sound. I think this box set is being withdrawn so pick up a copy now whilst you are still able. Thoroughly recommended.
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on 15 April 2016
Arrived well in time and was what it claimed to be. The Chorale Preludes are particularly beautifully done.
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on 22 May 2016
Bought for a friend.
No complaints.
Arrived very quickly.
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on 23 December 2011
This is an excellent set of recordings. He does indeed play the organs like harpsichords, and the acoustics are very atmospheric.
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