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Bach - The Great Organ At Methuen / Michael Murray

Release Date: 10/25/1990 
Label:  Telarc   Catalog #: 80049   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Michael Murray
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 37 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The Compact Disc debut of Bach organ music (Chorzempa's recital on Philips 410 038-2, 7/83—with a different programme) proved such a disappointment with its leaden performances that I must give a special welcome to this generally excellent recital from Michael Murray. Having played a prominent part with their early digital recordings Telarc are now giving us a model of just how to provide insert notes. Those supplied with the present issue are splendid, telling us a good deal about both the music and the organ. The latter was built for the Music Hall, Boston but later moved to the Methuen Hall and partly rebuilt by G. Donald Harrison, who is said to have changed little of the principals but given the ensemble ''an English warmth''. Read more Certainly the over-all sound does give this impression, yet the reeds have a brightness that brings a degree of bite to a baroque programme. The sound is mellower, less sharply detailed than that chosen by Peter Hurford for his famous Bach recordings on LP, but in the great Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor there is no lack of clarity, yet there is a massive weight given to the well-graduated climax. The piece is admirably presented and the background silence at the opening is very telling, as it is in the gentle chorale prelude, Alle Menschen mussen sterben which ends the programme very beguilingly.

Ivan March, Gramophone [1/1984]
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Works on This Recording

Vater unser im Himmelreich, BWV 737 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Michael Murray (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; ?Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1979 
Venue:  Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Methuen, MA 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Orgelbüchlein: Alle Menschen müssen sterben, BWV 643 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Michael Murray (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1713-1717; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1979 
Venue:  Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Methuen, MA 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542 "Great G minor" by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Michael Murray (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1979 
Venue:  Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Methuen, MA 
Length: 11 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Toccata and Fugue in F major, BWV 540 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Michael Murray (Organ)
Date of Recording: 06/1979 
Venue:  Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Methuen, MA 
Length: 8 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Michael Murray (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1708-1712; Arnstadt, Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1979 
Venue:  Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Methuen, MA 
Length: 14 Minutes 35 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Toccata in F December 27, 2014 By Jean M Spitzer (Glen Ellyn, IL) See All My Reviews "I bought this CD for myself, to listen to Toccata in F especially. I sent the same CD to my sister living north of Boston, as she is an organist. Thanks, Jean Spitzer" Report Abuse
 One of the Best December 1, 2011 By Edward H. (Cincinnati, OH) See All My Reviews "Firstly, the Telarc sound is great. It's crisp, detailed and solid. Hard to believe that this was recorded in 1979, the very beginning of commercial digital recording. Secondly, it does NOT have Bach's Toccata & Fugue in d minor. Thank heavens. It's been recorded so often that it's almost hackneyed. It's a wonderful piece of music but has been played nearly to death.... The Bach pieces on this album are both accessible and intriguing. They are a refreshing listen to Bach. Thirdly, if you want bass, this has some wonderful bass... It's not "in-your-face bass", but the kind that strains the best sub-woofers and causes the floor to vibrate. This is a BIG organ with 32 foot pedal pipes. The low notes are well below 30 Hz, the kind you feel as much as you hear. You'll really appreciate it. Your amplifier may not appreciate it. Fourthly, Michael Murray is a consummate artist. He's solid, not flashy. He has deep understanding of the music, he has beautiful technique and his pedal technique is second to none. He has played and recorded widely and is one of the great organists of our time. You can't go wrong with anything he does. He plays music, not just notes. Fifthly, the organ itself has a wonderful history as well as a wonderful sound. It was originally installed in Boston's Music Hall between 1857 and 1863. It was removed from Music Hall in 1884 and put into storage. It was purchased in 1897 by Edward F. Searles and installed in a building constructed especially for this instrument. The organ stayed in the state of Massachusetts and now resides in Methuen Memorial Music Hall in Methuen, MA, a town of 50,000 inhabitants. It has been rebuilt and augmented twice in the 20th Century. Each of these undertakings retained nearly all of the original pipes as well as adding to the coloring of the organ. If you want to see some pictures of the organ and the Music Hall that houses it, go to http://www.mmmh.org/ A final note: the album is only 39 minutes and a few seconds long. This is the length of a good vinyl record of yore. We are used to CDs of today having an hour or more of music. However, the music is heavenly and you will not feel 'cheated'. Don't delay. This is a classic album and deserves to be in your collection. You don't have to be a pipe organ "buff" to appreciate this album. It has great appeal and wears well. It will bring you much satisfaction for many years to come. It truly is one of the best albums of pipe organ music of the last three decades. I rate it 10 & 10. Ten out of a possible 10 for both artistry and technical quality." Report Abuse
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