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Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (c.1637-1707)
Complete Organ Works, Volume 2

Praeludium in E Minor, BuxWV 152
Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder, BuxWV 178
Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, BuxWV
Praeludium in A Minor, BuxWV 153
Mensch, wiltu leben seliglich, BuxWV 206
Von Gott will ich nicht lassen, BuxWV 221
Von Gott will ich nicht lassen, BuxWV 220
Praeludium in C Major, BuxWV 136
Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit, BuxWV 222
Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ, daß du gen Himmel gefahren bist, BuxWV 224
Praeludium in A Major, BuxWV 151
Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren, BuxWV 214
Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren, BuxWV 215 14.
Praeludium in E Minor, BuxWV 142
Bine Bryndorf, organ
Recorded on Buxtehude Organ at St. Mary's Church, Elsinore, Denmark, February 2003
DACAPO 8.226008[51:04]


Comparisons - Rubsam/Naxos, Saorgin/Harmonia Mundi, Vogel/MD&G

About a half-year after Volume 1, Bine Bryndorf continues her traversal of the Buxtehude organ catalogue with her second volume. To recap from my review of Volume 1, I recommended the disc for its majestic, exuberant and incisive performances while cautioning that Bryndorf celebrates instead of bowing to God in the Buxtehude chorales. The result of this approach is exceptional performances of the Praeludium works which are Buxtehude's homage to the Stylus Phantasticus and his most rewarding organ works. Concerning the chorales, some listeners might take exception to Bryndorf's low degree of supplication.

My comments in Volume 1 apply to the 2nd volume as well. However, the programming for Volume 2 differs in that we are given five Praeludium works as opposed to the three in Volume 1. This plays to Bryndorf's advantage given that she revels in the more heroic and powerful utterances of the composer.

Here are a few of the disc's highlights:-

"Ach Herr, Mich Armen Sunder", BuxWV 178 - Bryndorf takes a little over 3 minutes to cover this piece, while both Rene Saorgin and Wolfgang Rubsam extend the work to over 4 minutes. Bryndorf imparts a rhythmic vitality and confidence not found in the slower versions, and I now consider the Bryndorf interpretation the best on record.

"Christ unser Herr Zum Jordan Kam", BuxWV 180 - One of Buxtehude's most uplifting chorale settings, Bryndorf uses a strongly projected and heroic approach that soars; the registrations fit the piece perfectly.

Praeludium in A minor, BuxWV 153 - This work consists of a severe and twisting prelude in free style followed by two fugues. The fugues have the same melody, but the second fugue is in triple time with the addition of a chromatic note that enhances the work's variety and severity. Bryndorf is most impressive in conveying Buxtehude's twisting rhythms, giving them an intensity not often found in other recorded versions.

Praeludium in E minor, BuxWV 142 - The E minor is one of Buxtehude's most compelling works for organ. Having two preludes and three fugues, it is a role-model of the variety that Buxtehude injected into the Praeludium. The first fugue has ample severity and chromaticism, and the second fugue increases these qualities to the point where the descending chromatic lines convey a personality of 'pure evil'. Then we have a short prelude leading to a gigue-like third fugue that is fuelled by octave leaps.

Sound quality is exceptional with a deep bass, fine resonance and crisp tone. As mentioned in my review of Volume 1, Bryndorf plays the Buxtehude organ in Elsinore at St. Mary's Church. This organ was often played by Buxtehude himself and is a gorgeous sounding instrument of abundant power. Finally, I should note that I have taken the liberty in the heading of identifying BuxWV 152 as being in the key of A minor; the track listings on the cover and in the booklet incorrectly cite the key as E minor.

Although Buxtehude's organ music is masterful and an important foundation for Bach's organ works, finding recordings in music stores is not an easy matter. However, internet sales sites display a fine assortment of full sets and single discs. My favored set for many years has been the Saorgin on Harmonia Mundi, but currently it doesn't appear to be in print.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this second volume from Bine Bryndorf. The playing is outstanding, and the use of the Buxtehude organ at Elsinore adds to the authenticity. I look forward to Volume 3 and hope that it is soon forthcoming.

Don Satz



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