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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Organ works

Toccata and Fugue in d minor, BWV 565 [8.25]
1.Toccata: Adagio [2.31]
2. Fugue [5.54]
Fantasia in G major, BWV 572 (Pièce d’orgue) [7.30]
3. Très vitement [1.15]
4.Gravement [4.46]
5. Lentement [1.29]
Canonic variations on the Christmas hymn ‘Von Himmel hoch, da komm ich her’, BWV 769 [7.30]
6. Var. 1: Nel canone all’ottava [1.31]
7. Var. 2: Alio modo, nel canone alla Quinta [1.31]
8. Var. 3: Canone alla settima [2.24]
9. Var. 4: Per augmentationen, nel canone all’ottava [2.54]
10. Var 5: L’altra sorte den canone al rovescio: 1) alla sesta, 2) alla terza, 3) alla seconda e 4) alla nona [3.04]
Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532 [9.21]
11. Prelude [4.22]
12. Fugue [4.59]
Pastorale in F major, BWV 590 (Pastorella) [10.41]
13. (1.) in F major [2.04]
14. (2.) in C major [2.21]
15. (3.) in c minor [2.24]
16. (4.) in F major [3.52]
Prelude and Fugue in E flat major, BWV 552, ‘St Anne’ [14.17]
17. Prelude [8.05]
19. Fugue [6.12]
Simon Preston (organ)
Organ by Klais, Kreuzbergkirche, Bonn, Germany.
Recorded at Kreuzbergkirche, Bonn, Germany, September 1988
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 471 734-2 [61.58]


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This CD belongs to the series of Deutsche Grammophon CDs entitled ‘Entrée’ and their aim is to ‘collect the essential masterpieces performed by great artists’.

Preston is surely one of the top organists worldwide. The chosen programme sets out to illustrate some of Bach’s organ masterpieces, written during different periods of his life. These span from the famous early Toccata and Fugue in d minor, written probably between 1704 and 1708, the Prelude and Fugue in E flat major, published in 1739, to the canonic variations on ‘Von Himmel hoch’, written in 1747, just three years before Bach’s death.

The cover photo of the booklet is unusual for an organ music CD. It is though highly effective. The specification of the organ is not given in the booklet, a regrettable omission in any such disc. Also it would be useful for the listener if the booklet gave information about the pieces, rather than referring only briefly the highlights of Bach’s life.

Preston’s performances are characterized by vitality and rhythmic projection. All of them are executed with virtuoso flamboyance. The ornaments are beautifully placed. They succeed in sounding simultaneously spontaneous and poised without losing their expressive impact. Preston occasionally neglects the expressive dimension of the dramatic points, the feeling of arriving at their peak. This comes as a result of the articulation, which though it is sharp and accurate, loses in projection of the individual lines. It is at those moments too detached. In spite of this the pieces never lose their structural form, which stands proud in all its detail. The chosen registrations are imaginative and the Klais organ is made to sound at its best.

Christina Antoniadou

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