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Bach: Organ Toccatas & Passacaglia / Christopher Herrick


Release Date: 09/10/1992 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 66434   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Christopher Herrick
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Following his wonderful recording of Bach's most intimate organ pieces (the six Sonatas, BWV525–30 on CDA66390, 11/90), Christopher Herrick has now turned his hand to the flamboyant and extrovert works. Comparisons in music as universally popular as this are a little pointless; after all, anyone who favours the flippancy of Guillou's account of BWV565 (Dorian/Conifer, 3/90), the quirky registration effects and rhythmic freedom in Keith John's BWV564 (Priory, 4/90) or Kevin Bowyer's studied romanticism in BWV538 (Priory, 3/90) are unlikely to be swayed by Herrick's middle-of-the-road approach. But although 'middle-of-the-road' is often a term of derogation, by deliberately avoiding novelty in his interpretations, by not even trying to look Read more at this well-known music from a 'new' angle, Herrick is unlikely to incur the wrath of any but the most pompous of scholars. That alone puts him streets ahead of the competition.

It all dances along with a vitality which is both endearing and immensely refreshing. The Toccata of BWV540 flows along with a compelling one-in-the-bar pulse and some effervescent phrasing in both hands and feet, while BWV582 maintains an inexorable forward momentum which is not even interrupted as Passacaglia gives way to Fugue. The most popular Toccata of all (BWV565) seems just right; it has brilliance, energy, purpose and a most welcome lack of gimmickry. My only real reservation is the Fugue of BWV538. The vivacious character which pervades everything on this disc seems quite out of place here: I can't believe Bach intended this to be so light-hearted.

Coupled with a stupendous organ sound and Robin Langley's exceptionally interesting and valuable insert-notes, this will join Herrick's Sonatas recording and Nicholas Danby's recital (CBS (CD) CD45807, 6/90) as one of the three Bach CDs I will turn to over and over again for sheer enjoyment. All three are yardsticks with which to measure other performances.

-- Marc Rochester, Gramophone [4/1991]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 538 "Dorian" by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/1990 
Venue:  Stadtkirche, Zofingen, Switzerland 
Length: 12 Minutes 54 Secs. 
2.
Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major, BWV 564 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; ?Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/1990 
Venue:  Stadtkirche, Zofingen, Switzerland 
Length: 12 Minutes 25 Secs. 
3.
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/1990 
Venue:  Stadtkirche, Zofingen, Switzerland 
Length: 8 Minutes 44 Secs. 
4.
Toccata and Fugue in F major, BWV 540 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Date of Recording: 05/1990 
Venue:  Stadtkirche, Zofingen, Switzerland 
Length: 15 Minutes 2 Secs. 
5.
Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Christopher Herrick (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1708-1712; Arnstadt, Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/1990 
Venue:  Stadtkirche, Zofingen, Switzerland 
Length: 13 Minutes 9 Secs. 

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