Notes and Editorial Reviews
For this recording the Herrick/Hyperion team have returned to Bremgarten, the scene of their earlier triumph with the organ sonatas ((CD) CDA66390, 11/90). These five Partitas offer even greater scope for displaying this magnificent instrument's manifest charms and Herrick takes full advantage, uncovering a wealth of wonderful, exotic, yet always entirely appropriate sounds. His registrations are comprehensively mapped out in the accompanying booklet, which also includes a fascinating essay by Robin Langley on the music. The recording itself is outstanding with the kaleidoscopic range of organ colours and the impressive clarity of the playing ideally balanced.
Being made up of individual small variations usually with a change
of registration between each, the Partitas played in their entirety can seem very disjointed. The fluency and purposefulness of Herrick's playing easily circumvents this, although his rhythmic rigidity and unfalteringly lively momentum can become a little disturbing. Such unflagging energy certainly breathes great vitality into the music, but there needs to be an occasional reflective moment; a glimpse of something more profound. It's not that these are in any way superficial performances, far from it, but I do find Herrick's tempos rather too businesslike when taken in close succession (which is perhaps not the best way to listen through this disc, although the Partitas have been re-arranged to make a more interesting sequence when played one after the other). Nowhere is this more obvious than in the chorale melodies at the start of each Partita. Sei gegrusset presses too hard—and do I detect the slightest hint of speeding up in this? But these are small misgivings especially when set against such impressively clean, fresh and vital playing and such an exquisite sound. This series of Bach discs (the second comprises the great Toccatas—(CD) CDA66434, 4/91) looks set to become one of the pinnacles of modern organ recordings.
-- Marc Rochester, Gramophone [5/1992]
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