I really must leave feedback on this wonderful set of discs. Over the years I have been repeatedly disappointed by CDs of Bach organ music but at last my search has been successful.
First of all, the performer. Marie Claire Alain is just so reliable. She seems self effacing in her performances. I simply am not really conscious of her 'interpreting' the music or playing 'brilliantly'. To me, she is playing the music as Bach intended. Full stop.
Added to this is a wonderful combination of organ and recording quality. So many organ recordings are spoilt for me by too close microphones. Here, the recording engineer keeps everything beautifully balanced from the highest to the lowest frequencies and perfect clarity is accompanied by the proper perspective of a large church organ.
Here is nearly 20 hours of the greatest music at a bargain price. Not to be missed by any Bach lover.
If you want Bach played as Bach would have played it, i.e. small Baroque organs with period registration, then hit the back button and find Walcha, Koopman, Richter etc.
If, however, you want a more modern interpretation of the greatest organ works written then this bargain box set will suit you. Recorded in the late 70s/early 80s the great French organist here gives you her second (out of 3) surveys of the Bach organ works.
The registrations in the Chorale preludes will probably suit the ear better than the Preludes, Toccatas and Fugues but overall this is a good set.
With the Hurford det now deleted/overpriced depending on the merchant then this is the modern Bach organ set to go for.
Beautiful music played most beuatifully on an amazing high quality set of CD's. The organ and the acoustics of the Cathedrals are superb for recording Bach's organ music and at an unbelievably good price. I recommend this box set to anyone who loves organ music.
Just thought I'd put a good word in for this set performed by Marie Claire Alain on Erato. At under £20 it's a bargain for a complete set of Bach's organ works which is very well perfomed and recorded. Alain is well known for using a variety of different registrations and has achieved this to great effect in this set. I've also got the Hurford complete set on London which is also excellent and can also be recommended. This is the second version produced by Alain of Bach's complete organ works and was recorded from 1978 to 1980 on non-baroque organs in France, Denmark and Switzerland. The recorded sound of this set is very good considering it's all analog but has been digitally re-mastered. Her latest (third) set - also on Erato - has been performed on baroque instruments. I haven't heard this set yet but I've read good reviews of her performances. I'd like to recommended this great value set for its excellent performances of Bach's organ masterpieces.
This is God in a Box... Bach's organ music is the heart of his output. Alain's playing is incredible. Most recordings of these organ works are by men and so I see Alain's interpretation of these pieces as the other side of Bach. Not to say that the requisite masculinity which marks all of Bach's work is not here, it is, but there is also a more feminine aspect veiled which produces a wonderfully balanced account of these timeless pieces. She knows when to yield to the effects and knows when to play ferociously too. Subtle, tender, powerful and clear, the sounds range from the bold and dazzling to some peculiarly squeaking sounding organs which bring about a delight and novelty seldom heard. Alain's Orgelbulchein was vastly different to one by Bohme for example. Generally, her playing allows this music to soar, articulating the heights as well as the lower chambers masterfully. A great selection of different organs from Europe, especially France and Switzerland.
The feeling I was left with after this recording was one of sadness, for Bach, as Alain has successfully captured what it means to go be so great so as to be alone. A truly moving experience. A beautiful tribute to the greatest composer who ever lived.