This twelfth volume in CPO's comprehensive survey of
Bach's organ music features Gerhard Weinberger at the Heinrich Gottfried
Trost organ, Groengottern. There is an imaginatively planned programme
- a feature of this excellent series - beginning and ending with sonatas,
while also including the great Prelude and Fugue in C and a collection
of chorales. The recording engineers have captured the music in a pleasing
acoustic, and the music makes a strong impression. Weinberger is an
experienced artist and he chooses his tempi wisely, while he also succeeds
in conveying the personalities of the shorter pieces which make up the
central part of the programme. These more intimate aspects of Bach's
organ works can cause acoustic difficulties in recordings, but this
organ has a firm and satisfying tone across its whole range.
The Prelude and Fugue in C major is a substantial composition,
and it has a virtuoso stance in many respects. In fact it has an unusual
structure in four rather than two parts, so that there are actually
two fugues, with an imaginative and free-ranging approach in the second
of them. It is as if Bach originally improvised all this. And Weinberger's
interpretation is nothing if not direct and fresh.
The two trio sonatas are modelled on the example of
Vivaldi's concertos, a favourite influence for Bach. There are six of
these pieces in all (the disc includes Nos. 1 and 4), which Bach published
in definitive form after his move to Leipzig. Inevitably there are close
links with earlier compositions, since Bach was a great arranger of
his own music and that of others. For this reason the accompanying information
becomes particularly important.
It is a relief therefore to find that the documentation
in the booklet is excellent, with full details of the instrument as
well as the music. As usual from this source, the English translation
occasionally reads a little oddly, but generally the production standards
are very high. This is true also of the recorded sound and the performances
by this fine organist.