This third volume in the Kooiman/Bach series includes
some of Bach’s finest works for organ. These Trio Sonatas each contain
three movements, and are among Bach’s subtlest compositions for organ.
They are not meant to be played with large, forceful registrations -
in fact, if played in this manner, their detailed counterpoint would
be lost in the reverberation. Played in three parts - that is with each
hand playing one voice and the feet playing the third - these works
are brilliant examples of both technical and melodic mastery.
As in the first volume of the trio sonatas, Kooiman
plays at relatively slow tempi, which better highlights the subtle interplay
of the voices. The middle movements are intense and lyrical, but at
times these slow tempi seem to betray the spirit of the sonatas. At
times, the fast movements seem a bit lacking in energy, while the slow
movements tend to sound much more appropriate.
This disc also contains three fantasias, the long BWV
542, which is a fantasia and fugue full of energy, and gives the organ
a chance to speak out brilliantly. This is the only "big"
piece on the disc. The trio sonatas and the other fantasias are all
more sedate. Kooiman sounds right at home in this piece, with a great
deal of vigour and energy.
One comment about this disc and the other one of the
Trio Sonatas. The sonatas are recorded with all three movements on one
track, which prevents the listener from putting on a specific movement
of these works. While this is not often a problem, it can be annoying
to some who occasionally want to listen to just certain movements.
As for the first volume of the sonatas, Kooiman seems
to be struggling with two distinct styles of music. In the slower movements,
his subtle playing fits perfectly, but in the faster movements of the
trio sonatas he seems to be out of tune with the music. The one "big"
work on this disc, the G minor Fantasia and Fugue, is brilliantly played,
however, and it seems that this performer is more at home in this type
of music than the more intimate works.
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