One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


Support us financially by purchasing this from
 

Johann PACHELBEL (1653-1706)
Organ Jewels of the 17th Century
Toccata in e minor [1:45]
Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund [2:08]
Christus, der ist mein Leben [6:20]
Von Himmel Hoch, da komm ich her [4:38]
Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott [3:42]
Ricercar in c minor [5:20]
Hexachordum Apollinis : Aria Sebaldina in f minor [6:35]
Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern [3:20]
Vater unser im Himmelreich [2:48]
O Lamm Gottes unschuldig (Chorale) [4:26]
O Lamm Gottes unschuldig in f minor [6:35]
Bernard Lagacé (organ)
rec. St. Bonaventure de Rosemont, Montreal, Canada, 1 March 1971. ADD
2xHD 2XHDJD1033 [50:16]

Download only: reviewed in lossless format from eclassical.com (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, NO booklet, but see below).

Pachelbel’s Canon has caught the musical public’s imagination, especially that of ClassicFM listeners, to such an extent that you could easily think it was his only work of value: there’s even an RCA CD entitled Pachelbel’s Greatest Hit on which it receives a variety of performances.

This recording of his organ music joins a list of CDs which demonstrate why such a belief is untenable.  With excellent performances from the recent past by a distinguished organist, very well refurbished, it serves as an excellent introduction to his prolific keyboard output. I’m not sure of the provenance of this new 2xHD refurbishment of a set of 1971 recordings, though Bernard Lagacé made a number of distinguished recordings of the likes of Couperin which were released in the UK on the Oryx and Calliope labels and subsequently on Analekta CDs.  I believe that this recording was released on an Arion LP which was never available in the UK.  The notes speak of both 15 i.p.s. tape and LP sources.

The only reason not to give an outright recommendation is that you may well wish to go on to investigate Pachelbel’s considerable output via the 5-CD set released last year as Volume 1 of his organ music, on the CPO label, which Johan van Veen made a Recording of the Month (777 556-2 – review).  There’s also a Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm series of recordings of his music underway: Volume 2, combining organ and harpsichord music was also praised by Johan van Veen – review.  I’ve no quarrel with 2xHD’s description of the music as ‘jewels’ but they aren’t the only ones in the box.

Most of the music here is liturgical in nature, consisting of organ preludes appropriate to a particular season like the more familiar Bach chorale preludes.  The opening Toccata and the two central works, the Ricercar and Aria Sebaldina, however, are secular.  The Aria is the final movement of the Hexachordum Apollinis (1699), a work equally at home on the organ and the harpsichord and described as such in the first edition.  There’s a recording of the complete Hexachordum by John Butt on Harmonia Mundi from around 1990, one of the earliest albums made by a performer whose Bach Passions and Well-tempered Klavier on Linn have since been hailed in all quarters.  HMU907029, download only – available from eclassical.com, mp3 and lossless, stream from Qobuz: NO booklet from either.

Butt plays the music on a modern copy of a North German organ of the time.  Though Pachelbel hailed from further South, that may seem more appropriate than Lagacé’s French-style instrument, but as the Hexachordum requires light registration, it’s of little importance.  His performance is bright and attractive; though it’s faster than Butt’s on paper, the difference is less apparent in the hearing and I enjoyed listening to both.

The chorale preludes receive equally adept performances.  You may well recognize the underlying chorales of the better-known examples such as the Easter Christ lag in Todesbanden.  2xHD label track 10 as O Lamm Gottes (choir) but no choir is involved; Lagacé plays the chorale tune ahead of the prelude on the same theme which follows on the final track.

You would hardly think that the recording dated from 1971, though it’s very naughty of some dealers – not 2xHD themselves who clearly proclaim the word ‘analog’ or eclassical.com – to describe it as a ‘native DSD’ production: it’s ADD.  It’s hardly inferior to the Harmonia Mundi of twenty years later, especially as heard in lossless sound.  The mp3, too, is good of its kind.

There’s a booklet of notes from Qobuz and offered free by 2xHD – none from eclassical.com – but it’s pretty rudimentary.  Surely it’s mandatory for an organ recording to list the specification of the instrument if not the registration of individual pieces?  It would have been good, too, to know which of the many settings Pachelbel made of most of these chorale preludes is played here: it can’t be just boring old reviewers who like to know which is which, as on the CPO recording where the POP numbers are given.

For all my complaints about the lack of the booklet and its inadequacy when found, I very much enjoyed listening to this album.  I’m pleased that 2xHD have rescued these performances from oblivion.  Hitherto all their offerings that I’ve heard have been refurbishments of Naxos recordings; I hope that they will continue to offer more such lost treasures.

By the time that you read this, Easter will be over but it will still be Eastertide.  I recommend following up Pachelbel’s organ music with his Easter cantatas on Ricercar RIC255, as reviewed in December 2008 (Christ lag in Todesbanden from this album also included in bargain 7-CD set, RIC344 – review and review).

Brian Wilson




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger