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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C, BWV564 [14:45]
Organ Concerto in a minor (after Vivaldi), BWV593 [12:09]
Leipzig Chorale Prelude, BWV654, ‘Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele’ [6:24]
Prelude and Fugue in b minor, BWV544 [13:39]
Chorale Prelude, BWV682. ‘Vater unser im Himmelreich’ [6:46]
Prelude and Fugue in G, BWV541 [7:59]
Chorale Prelude, BWV622, ‘O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde groß’ [5:31]
Passacaglia and Fugue in c minor, BWV582 [13:10]
David Goode (Silbermann Organ, 1711-14, modified 1738)
rec. Freiberg Cathedral, 4-6 July 2010
SIGNUM SIGCD261 [80:26]

This CD has been around for a while, and was reviewed comprehensively by Brian Wilson in 2012. His commentary is larded with comparisons and I find myself in agreement with those references with which I am acquainted, but my interest in the disc was as much for these pieces recorded on the 1714 Silbermann organ as for the interpretations, and I suspect most fans of Bach’s organ music will approach this disc from a similar point of view.
 
Signum’s recording is rich and full, capturing this stunning instrument and the acoustic of its environment to great effect. The opening Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C, BWV 564 is a demonstration track for this, with the left-right stereo division of the pipes creating an exhilarating feel of involvement, the short bursts of pedal notes generating gutsy bass and giving the Freiburg resonance a lively workout. The balance between hard-hitting detail and gorgeous atmosphere seems perfect.
 
The programme avoids a cliché ‘Best-of-Bach’ feel and is a well-chosen selection of the impressive and the lyrically expressive. David Goode also explores every aspect of the organ – even into some unexpected regions. Have a listen beyond 5:10 in the Passacaglia of BWV 582 and then check to see if your local canines have been alerted, so high does the player take this particular variation.
 
In essence this is a superb Bach recital disc which fits the bill as a one-stop place to savour the kinds of noises the composer himself would have considered ideal for his music. I agree that David Goode’s playing might not have quite the expressive elasticity of Kevin Bowyer on Nimbus, which for me took over from Peter Hurford on Decca in part due to the more convincing sound of the Danish instrument but also due to the extreme completeness of the set.
 
With comprehensive documentation of the works and the instrument this is an excellent release in every way – if you seek just one organ disc for your collection, or to add one which may put others to shame.
 
Dominy Clements

Previous review: Brian Wilson