As Christopher Herrick's Bach series nears completion, collectors and purists
will in no doubt favour it as the best recommendable version of these titanic
works all around. This delightful collection of tit-bits and assortments
reveals the lighter side of Bach'' contributions to the instrument although
there are some titanic items as well. It is intriguing to listen to the short
Fantasia in C, which rolls off at 0''47, a mystery of incompleteness. There
are also some beautiful Chorale Preludes, the most sublime of which is 'Jesu
meine Freude', BWV753, an example of Bach's unique oneness with religion
and the organ.
The short Concerto in G also contains some lovely tunes and the final fugue
is especially memorable for its simplicity and directness. Herrick also chooses
a short Concerto, BWV597, this is also quite disarming for portraying the
characteristics of a small organ. The final Prelude and Fugue is one of the
finest Bach compositions and the Fugue in particular, is replete with virtuosity
and fantastic variations on various themes culminating in a powerful conclusion,
that is in no doubt Bach's praising God in his own ways! Such is the variety
and assortment on this CD that one is hard pressed to name a few favourites!
However, I will settle for the mesmeric 'Kleines harmonisches Labyrinth'
BWVC 591, the unfinished 'Pedal Exercitium' for mystical scholarship and
the compact but titanic Fugue in C BWV946, a late work that shows Bach in
full flower of his mastery. Christopher Herrick's playing is absolutely without
reproach, indeed he explores all possibilities of pedalling, reeds, flutes
ultimately the lot in playing that is both soft and soothing, although at
turns powerful and grand. The Swiss organ is ideally suited to these short
pieces and from its specification it is more of a chamber organ in layout
As a Bach enthusiast, I warmed to Stephen Westrop's cogently informative
notes, which attempt to describe in a nutshell and without too much detail,
the pieces on the disc. Hyperion have also secured a wonderfully natural
sound out of the Pfarrkirche Organ, truthful and reliable without being vulgar.
Collectors of the Herrick bach series will no doubt snap up this release
but it is also recommended to newcomers who will want to explore the fantastic
soundworld of this glorious instrument in smaller doses.