This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Here are valuable performances of some of the great Bach organ works, in stimulating and authoritative readings from organist Wolfgang Rubsam. It's a collection most useful for those interested in token representation of these works in a general CD library. More demanding organ enthusiasts, though, will find aspects of Philips' presentation less satisfactory--in particular the sparse documentation and a booklet essay that leaves out much of the information you'd usually consider to be essential. These accounts were recorded in 1977 and first issued a year later; however, there is no mention of the particular instrument(s) employed, which is a pity as the details doubtless would be appreciated by organ devotees (besides the fact that such
information is de rigueur for recordings in this genre).
Naturally enough, this set opens with a brilliant account of the best known of all Bach's organ works (and ironically, one he probably didn't even write), the Toccata in D minor BWV 565. Rubsam gives a text-book reading, and his imaginative registrations and alert phrasing are typical of the various accounts collected here. Another prominent highlight is the G minor Fantasia BWV 542, a thrillingly engineered and sonorous performance, very much in typical 19th-century guise, with plenty of surprisingly effective romantic and dramatic touches. There's also a selection of chorale preludes from the Orgel-Buchlein, including many of the best-known settings, again agreeably and intelligently played.
Disc 2 begins with the imposing Passacaglia & Fugue in C minor BWV 582 and proceeds to showcase a series of well-known pieces, climaxing with a majestic reading of the Prelude & Fugue in E-flat ("St. Anne") BWV 552. These are admirable performances, but doubtless the lack of documentation concerning Rubsam's instrument (or instruments) is a drawback that some listeners inevitably will find annoying.
--Michael Jameson, ClassicsToday.com
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