through MusicWeb for £16.00 postage
Kevin Bowyer and Christopher Herrick are continuously distinguishing themselves
in concurrent series' of Bach's complete organ music in the run up to the
much hyped Bach 250th anniversary year. If both have sumptuous recordings
and stupendous documentation, the approach is markedly more different. Nimbus
are simpler and more prosaic in their presentation with Bowyer proving a
distinctive but ultimately uninspiring interpreter.
Still this two-disc set is welcome for restoring some rarely heard works
to the repertoire. Bowyer's dashing view of the mammoth 'Wedge' Prelude and
Fugue is suitably entertaining although some rushed notes at the end rob
the work of imposing grandeur. Things improve markedly in the short Fuga
sopra il Magnificat which is winningly done whilst the borous raucusoness
of the canonic Variations, BWV 769 are impressive for their stupendous mastery
It was also highly satisfying to listen to Bowyer's virtuoso display in the
Prelude and Fugue in C minor, a sure-fire winner and an excellent conclusion
to the first disc. The Toccata in C prefaces the second disc and here I was
enthused and excited by the sound of the Danish organ, splendidly alive in
the rolling notes and some fine sounds from the reeds. Bowyer follows this
long work with a host of short pieces of which one may single out the delightful
Fughetta BWV 702 and the Prelude and Fugue, both in C which Bowyer dispatches
with ruthless efficiency.
The various Chorale preludes that intersperse the rest of the collection
are also beautifully played, although they can sound a bit tedious when heard
out of context. Bowyer brings this collection to an end with a forceful Toccata
in E minor, splendidly executed and displaying several virtuoso effects that
confirm this organists status as one of the finest Bach interpreters around.
Those who have been collecting this magnificent series will not hesitate
although I would also have Herrick alongside me when he comes to record these
Kevin Bowyer's copious and informative notes are another major addition to
the Bach organ canon and should be an essential part of any self-respecting
organist's collection. Indeed I would go as far as saying that these writings
should appear in a separate volume such is their wisdom and understanding.
Nimbus have secured a bold, rich and fathomable sound from the Marcussen
organ which is obviously tailor made for Bach. The beautiful stained glass
reproductions on the front cover also make this series eminently collectable.
Volume 12 please!