In 1997 Marcussen reconstructed
the 1641/1663 Lorentz/Frietzsch organ,
(3/30), in the church in Elsinore where
Buxtehude was organist from 1658 to
1668, before his move to Lübeck.
For the first time then a Buxtehude
recording is possible on an organ sympathetic
to his music in a church where he himself
served. The organ sounds well - indeed
one wishes Marcussen would voice their
new organs as well as they voice their
reconstructions - but without that last
ounce of beauty which separates the
great organ-builders from the very good
ones. Roskilde it isn't.
I was fortunate to
assist Byne Bryndorf, the current professor
of organ at the Royal Danish Academy
of Music and former Radulescu student,
in a concert in Alkmaar last year. Her
phenomenally relaxed and efficient technique
on the most challenging of organs left
a big impression on me. Here she plays
with fluidity and style. The end of
the E minor Praeludium is astonishingly
virtuosic, taking far more of the 12/8
fugue into the pedal than is suggested
by Michael Bellotti in his now standard
edition. I have to say that Bryndorf's
Buxtehude philosophy is not significantly
different from that of Harald Vogel,
whose ideas about registration and rhetoric
seem as yet curiously unchallenged.
This is not to say that Vogel is wrong
or that his results are not beautiful,
(they certainly are), but his philosophy
is a personal one, only partially source-based.
So, in Bryndorf's recording, we have
fugues with 8' pedal played on flutes,
or, sometimes a so-called 'consort registration'
(here in BuxWV 153 and 142) and we have
remarkably similar accelerandi at the
beginning of each Praeludium. Her chorale
preludes seem slightly more personal,
though I find her ornamentation sometimes
too fast and nervous in pieces with
a more tranquil or sorrowful affect.
The booklet contains
excellent notes by Kerala Snyder and
also the chorale tunes; a nice touch
which helps put the chorale preludes
into context for the listener. Regrettably
there is no photo of the 1641 organ
case, though one is referred to in the
technical information at the back of
the booklet! Incidentally, 51 minutes
of music is seriously stingy.