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JS Bach: Complete Organ Music, Vol. 2

Stefano Molardi (organ)

With the second volume of this complete survey of the greatest organ music ever written, we reach the summit of Bach’s output for his own instrument, the Clavierübung, a set of intricate chorale preludes structured as an ‘organ mass’ and bookended by his grandest prelude and fugue, BWV552, with its magnificent French Overture-style prelude and inexorably pressing fugue known as the ‘St Anne’ to Anglophone listeners on account of the melody’s superficial (and coincidental) similarity to a hymn-tune of the same name.

But Molardi offers much more on this generous selection, which does not slavishly group works according to genre but offers satisfying juxtapositions of style and mood while concentrating on the mature Leipzig period from which derives Clavierübung III, and including more preludes and fugues of proto-Romantic weight of expression, climaxing in the tragic energy of the B minor pair, BWV544, which is fully worthy of its counterpart that ends the first part of the Well-Tempered Clavier. In between come more chorale preludes, mostly withdrawn and reflective in tone.

Molardi plays two instruments of a size and colour that would have been well-known to Bach himself, including a splendid Dresden instrument by the non-pareil of contemporary organ-builders, Gottfried Silbermann. With its modern recording techniques, imaginative programming, virtuosic playing and thoughtful booklet notes by Molardi himself, this cycle promises to be a definitive set of Bach organ works for our times.

Brand New / sealed 4CD
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  • Seller location: Lower Hutt City, Wellington, NZ

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