Ewald Kooiman was born in 1938, and is a well-known
scholar-performer of organ music. As an editor, he has published more
than forty volumes of organ music, ranging from the 17th to the 19th
century. As a performer, he has made some fifty recordings, including
this complete set of Bach’s organ works.
Bach is one of the uncontested masters of the organ.
The sheer variety of his organ music, coupled with its intensity, makes
it the reference for this instrument. Even though other great composers
have written for the organ, and are also well known - from Germany alone,
one can cite such masters as Buxtehude and Pachelbel - Bach’s music
reaches much deeper levels of emotion and spirituality than most others.
In this first volume of Bach’s complete organ works,
Kooiman performs five of Bach’s great toccatas. Each of these works
is based on improvisation, and much freer construction than other works.
Bach wrote several legendary toccatas for organ in his early years,
with a great deal of Italian influence, and these virtuoso works show
the extent of his ability. The opening Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,
probably the most famous of all organ works (for which Bach’s authorship
has recently been questioned), is performed here with a great attention
to detail and texture, and less to the overwhelming sound one often
hears with this work. The same is true for the C Major Toccata, where
Kooiman gives an intense performance, with very interesting registration,
which allows the subtleties of this piece to be clearly heard.
Bach’s toccatas and fugues can be seen as similar to
the prelude-fugue pairs of the Well-Tempered Clavier. The famous Dorian
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, which opens with a sixteenth note melody
that sounds almost fugal, takes on brilliant colours on this organ.
The fugue of this work is one of Bach’s most majestic, and, again, the
registration and the excellent sound of this organ do it great justice.
This is an excellent start to what seems to be a wonderful
set of Bach’s organ works. The performances are very good, the organ
magnificent and the recording flawless. Even though Kooiman is not well-known
as a performer, this set certainly deserves the attention of fans of
Bach’s organ music.
NL-2130 AE Hoofddorp
11 Park Street
Royal Leamington Spa