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Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (c. 1637-1707)
Praeludium in C BuxWV 138 [4'02]
Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott BuxWV 184 [3'38]
Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl BuxWV 187 [3'06]
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort BuxWV 185 [2'01]
Praeludium in g BuxWV 163 [7'26]
Praeambulum in a BuxWV 158 [4'45]
Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verdebt BuxWV 183 [4'04]
Herr Christ, der einig Gottes sohn BuxWV 191 [2'55]
Herr Christ, der einig Gottes sohn BuxWV 192 [3'08]
Es ist das Heil, uns kommen her BuxWV 186 [3'01]
Canzonetta in G BuxWV 172 [2'06]
Canzonetta in a BuxWV 225 [2'06]
Canzona in g BuxWV 173 [1'73]
Praeludium in g BuxWV 150 [6'55]
Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn BuxWV 201 [3'12]
Herr Jesu Christ, ich weiss gar wohl BuxWV 193 [3'26]
Vater unser im Himmelreich BuxWV 219 [3'11]
Toccata in F BuxWV 156 [7'59]
Bine Bryndorf, organ
rec. St Mary's Helsingborg, 17-18 November 2003. DDD
DA CAPO 8.226023 [71'32]


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The latest release in Danish organist, Bine Bryndorf's survey of the complete organ works of Buxtehude, takes her, again, to a church where Buxtehude himself was employed early in his career: the church of St Mary in Helsingborg. Unlike the instrument in Elsinore featured on the previous release, the new organ in Helsingborg is not an attempt to re-create an instrument of Buxtehude's time. Rather it takes the style of organ-building prevalent in this part of Northern Europe at the time as the starting-point for a new instrument. The organ builder, the Swede Robert Gustavsson, has created a small instrument, 2/17 including two transmissions, of admirable quality; lyrical flutes, characterful reeds and a no-nonsense plenum, in which Bryndorf frequently includes the Sexqaltera (sic). Despite Bryndorf's necessarily imaginative use of such a small organ, and despite its undoubted qualities, I found the sound to be a little oppressive after a long time. I played a very similar organ by the same builder in Gothenburg a few years ago and found much the same thing, although there the room was far poorer than here. The very pronounced attack of the Praestants in particular I find unattractive, especially when used in a solo context, (with or without the Sexqaltera).

Bryndorf again produces stylish performances of great beauty. Her chorale preludes in particular reveal her insights into this literature, each capturing very perceptively the affekt of the piece. Likewise the Canzona and Canzonetta movements find Bryndorf getting right to the heart of the music; listen especially to the charming Spitz Floit in the G major Canzonetta. I find her concept of the Stylus Phantasticus movements more troubling; they again mostly feature rather similar accelerandi at the beginning, suggesting a slightly narrow view of the interpretation of the rhetorical gestures, and often feature rather complex registration schemes. Given, for example, that the BuxWV 163 g minor Praeludium is almost certainly a harpsichord pieces - it is written manualiter and contains rather thick textures low in the compass from the outset - it doesn't appear in the new Belotti edition of the free organ works - why make such a complex registration scheme? Also the use of 8' pedal in fugues is a subjective non-source based concept which, while very commonly applied today, is difficult to justify within the practical context of surviving organs of the period. That does not mean that tonally it is not possible, (it is!), but the number of registration changes means that registrants are essential and the evidence for there having been registrants as a matter of course in 17th century North Germany is meagre.

The whole approach, if not precisely the execution, is the result of the philosophy of Harald Vogel. I must state categorically that I am a Vogel admirer - his approach and his playing is beautiful, creative, but above all personal, based on subjective musicological judgements of very limited source material.

Bryndorf's Buxtehude set, when complete, will be highly recommendable - she plays with great beauty and insight on organs of high quality. The well presented booklets; notes by Kerala Snyder, and the appearance of all the chorale melodies, increase the stature of these releases further. At the moment Vogel's own iconic set on Dabringhaus und Grimm still  rules the roost, but among more recent releases this is an admirable set, even out-scoring the usually excellent Naxos, whose Buxtehude set, unusually is proving very hit and miss.

Chris Bragg  


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