> From the land of Bach [CrA]: Classical Reviews- January 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Calcante Recordings


Organ Works by:-
J. S. BACH (1685-1750), Concerto in G Major after Johann Ernst BWV 592, - S. SCHEIDT (1587-1654), Passamezzo SSWV 1071, - J. C. Kittel (1732-1809), Grob en Preludien: 1. Prelude in E-Flat Major 2. Prelude in E-Flat Minor, - J.S.Bach Prelude and Fugue in E Major BWV 566, - R. SCHUMANN (1810-1856), Six Fugues on B-A-C-H, Op.60 1. No.4, Mässig doch nicht zu langsam 2. No.5, Lebhaft, - J. S. BACH, Two Chorale Preludes 1. Valet will ich dir geben, BWV 736, 2. Herzlich tut mich verlagen BWV 727, F. B. MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847), Sonata no.3 in A Major.
Robert Clark, Organist
Organ Hall, Arizona State University
Organ by: Paul Fritts and Co., 1992.
Recorded: January 2000, Arizona State University, Temple, Arizona.

Robert Clark has chosen for this pre-/post-Bach a Fritts organ, set in a pleasantly warm acoustic. The instrument has a mechanical action and a style of voicing based on the Baroque instruments of Arp Schnitger and the Hamburg area. It sounds very suitable for this music. It has some attractive individual colours and a fine pleno, all well captured by this recording.

The selection displays apart from Bach’s music, organ music composed a century before and a century after Bach. Samuel Scheidt’s Passamezzo (a dance form) from Tablatura Nova, consists of ten variations influenced by the style of his teacher, Sweelinck. There is music by Kittel, one of Bach’s gifted pupils and also music by Schumann and Mendelssohn: among the most fervent of Bach’s 19th Century supporters.

Most of the performances are worthy of this splendid music. Registration is historically informed throughout and even though the organ does not have a swell box (expression box), the crescendi in Schumann and Mendelssohn are quite smooth. The acoustic of the hall is carefully rendered and the result is clear and distinguished. Also the fine tracker action responds perfectly to Clark’s technique and musical intentions are therefore fully articulated. Clark’s rhythms are sprightly and most of the finger-work is tidy. Occasionally there are some slips either in the hands (for example, Schumann’s Fugue No. 5, or the trills at Scheidt’s Passamezzo, Variation 5) or the pedals (Bach’s Prelude in E-Major – first solo pedal part). Clark falters in Mendelssohn’s Sonata in A-Major – First movement. There seems to be insufficient weight and sense of arrival to represent the maestoso character of the piece. There is compensation however in the calm sound of the second movement.

Clark’s technique and musicality is audible so it is a pity that this CD comes complete with some 'slips'. Nevertheless, the listener will have a very pleasant journey through the music of two centuries.


Christina Antoniadou


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