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Pachelbel: Clavier Music Vol. 2 / Franz Raml

Pachelbel / Raml
Release Date: 08/10/2010 
Label:  Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog #: 6141553   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



PACHELBEL Clavier Works, Vol. 2 Franz Raml (org, hpd) MDG 614 1553-2 (60:56)


Praeludium in d. Allebreve in d. Fantasia in g, “Elevation.” Toccatas in g, B12 & B14. Magnificat septimi toni . Ricercare in c. Partita sopra “Ach, was soll ich armer Sünder machen?” Ciaccona in f. 2 Chorale Preludes. Suite in F

Read more /> Before commencing with the review, I’d like to clear up some lingering misconceptions about the pronunciation of the composer’s last name. No, it does not rhyme with that of a Mexican fast food restaurant. In Germany and Austria they say (now repeat after me, boys and girls) Pach- el -bel, with the emphasis on the second syllable and the last syllable clipped. Just like Pi- sen -del or Mü- thel, or for that matter, Hän -del. Anyone who persists in pronouncing these names with the accent on the final syllable will be shot on sight.


Now that I’ve got your attention, I’m glad to report that this is an absolutely stunning CD. No indication is given as to the number of projected volumes, but when complete the series will fill a conspicuous gap in the catalog. Along with Buxtehude, Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706) is arguably the greatest German composer of organ music before Sebastian Bach. Pachelbel’s organ music has not lacked for recordings, but the harpsichord music is largely absent from the catalog. To my knowledge, there has been exactly one previous complete recording of the organ music: an 11-CD set on the Centaur label featuring American organist Joseph Payne. That set is only available on special order but is worth seeking out.


Franz Raml is a German organist and harpsichordist based in Oberschwaben, or Upper Swabia. He is the chief organist of the Cloister Church of St. Verbena in Rot an der Rot, near Biberach, where the historic Holzhey organ (1792) is housed. But instead of that organ, we are treated on this CD to the venerable two-manual Silbermann (1714) in Freiberg Cathedral, Saxony, memorably recorded by E. Power Biggs in 1972 during the height of the Cold War. The liner notes don’t mention this, but the Silbermann instrument underwent extensive restoration in 2006–07, making this CD the first opportunity for many to hear the organ in its newly refurbished state.


What a glorious-sounding organ it is. The opening Praeludium in D Minor, perhaps the grandest organ work in Pachelbel’s oeuvre , is tailor-made for this instrument—or is it the other way around? The organ sound is full and resounding, with a warm, well-blended Oberwerk and a most impressive pedal. I’m tempted to call it the ideal Baroque organ. Well, until the next one comes along—there are lots more out there to be recorded.


Typical for many complete recordings, the program is quite varied; it includes large-scale works such as the Praeludium cheek-to-cheek with less ostentatious pieces. The Magnificat septimi toni , one of Pachelbel’s so-called “magnificat-fugues,” was written for the Catholic rite and reflects the range of the composer’s employment history. The two toccatas are once again showy pieces on the shorter side, while the ricercare is in the complex Froberger style transmitted to Pachelbel through his teacher Johann Caspar Kerll. The partita is reminiscent of similar works by Bach—like them, it is built around a simple hymn tune, in this case the achingly beautiful “Ach, was soll ich Sünder machen?” (Wretched sinner, what shall become of me?). Pachelbel’s invention in the ensuing variations easily equals that of Bach, and compositionally speaking this is the outstanding work on the program for me. Of the two chorale preludes, the all-too-brief Vom Himmel Hoch , familiar from many Christmas CDs, is touchingly beautiful, while the famous ciaconna is full of harmonic and contrapuntal invention and builds to an exciting climax.


Although the Suite in F for harpsichord may seem like filler—it occupies only about one-quarter of the CD—it is as worthy as any of the organ pieces. Franz Raml has at his disposal a terrific-sounding Italian harpsichord, a copy after Giusti, and he proves that he is as comfortable with that instrument as with the organ. Throughout, Raml is an imaginative musician whose playing is characterized by rock-steady tempos and intelligent phrasing. This is not to say, however, that he is in any way dull or mechanical. The organ registrations are frequently quite inventive in showing off the colorful solo stops of the Silbermann, and it’s all been captured in full-bodied, realistic sound. Extensive notes and full organ specifications complete the package. A magnificent CD—I look forward to hearing further releases in this history-making series.


FANFARE: Christopher Brodersen
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Works on This Recording

1.
Prelude, for organ in D minor, T. 222 by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 04/1706; Germany 
Venue:  Freiberg 
Length: 5 Minutes 31 Secs. 
2.
Fantasia for Organ in G minor by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Venue:  Freiberg 
Length: 3 Minutes 38 Secs. 
3.
Toccata, for organ in G minor, T. 246 by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 04/1706 
Venue:  Freiberg 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
4.
Magnificat Fugues (95) for Organ: Fugue septimi toni no 4 by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Venue:  Freiberg 
Length: 5 Minutes 14 Secs. 
5.
Toccata, for organ in G minor (G Dorian, II), T. 244 by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 04/1706 
Venue:  Freiberg 
Length: 1 Minutes 51 Secs. 
6.
Ricercare for Organ in C minor by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Venue:  Freiberg 
Length: 5 Minutes 11 Secs. 
7.
Ach was soll ich Sünder machen by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Venue:  Freiberg 
Length: 5 Minutes 51 Secs. 
8.
Chaconne for Organ in F minor by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Venue:  Rot a. d. Rot 
Length: 7 Minutes 3 Secs. 
9.
Chorale Prelude "Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her" (I), for organ (Choräle 6), T. 6 by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1693; Germany 
Venue:  Freiberg 
Length: 1 Minutes 44 Secs. 
10.
Chorale Prelude "Vater unser im Himmelreich" (II), for organ, T. 62 by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 04/1706 
Venue:  Freiberg 
Length: 5 Minutes 11 Secs. 
11.
Suite, for keyboard in F major, T. 310 by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 04/1706 
Venue:  Rot a. d. Rot 
Length: 2 Minutes 21 Secs. 
12.
Fantasia for Organ in D minor by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Venue:  Rot a. d. Rot 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
13.
Allabreve in D minor by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Franz Raml (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1679-1706 
Venue:  Freiberg 
Length: 3 Minutes 8 Secs. 

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