Notes and Editorial Reviews
Christopher Herrick clocks up another memorable recording - terrifically nimble-fingered and fleet-footed.
This is volume 4 in Christopher Herrick's complete organ works of Dieterich Buxtehude on Hyperion. Volume 3 was very warmly received here. Following what was the likely tricentenary of Buxtehude's birth in 2007, there are now, happily, dozens of CDs of his organ music available, including complete recordings on MDG Gold (MDG3141438), Loft, Naxos, Dacapo, Vox (CD6X-3613), Documents (224050, also on Classico CLASSCD143 and previously on Paula) and Danacord (DACOCD 381-386). Besides Herrick on Hyperion, Ton Koopman also has an intended full set on Challenge Classics (part of a complete works project, at volume 14 in
Like the previous volume, this release contains many short pieces: of the eighteen items, three Canzon(ett)as, six Chorale Preludes, the Fuga, one of the Toccatas and one of the Chorale Fantasias are between one and four minutes long. But short does not equate with inconsequential in Buxtehude's music: even the merest pieces speak volumes about the imagination, virtuosity and originality of this still underrated composer. From the exhilarating fugal Praeambulum, to the massive, mesmerising Passacaglia, from the aptly labelled stylus fantasticus of the Toccatas - the rhythmic pile-up in the second half of the one in F is amazing - to an assortment of jigs, fugues and, in the Chorale Preludes, sometimes even solemn music!, these works, regardless of length, amount to 70-plus minutes of outstanding invention and playing: elegant, flamboyant, uplifting, exciting, mellifluous, profound.
Christopher Herrick clocks up another memorable recording. His terrifically nimble-fingered and fleet-footed playing betrays no sign of someone soon to be entering his eighth decade! There is surely nothing to be said against another complete set of Buxtehude's organ works when the music is this good or performed this well.
The technical sound quality and chapel acoustics are very good, and the Trinity College organ - Metzler-built, like those in Herrick's celebrated complete Bach organ cycle, and dating back only as far as 1976, though incorporating seven ranks from Trinity predecessors from 1694 and 1708 - sounds superb. Not particularly authentic but Buxtehude himself would almost certainly have enjoyed its breadth and power.
As usual with Hyperion, the trilingual CD booklet gives excellent information on the music, track by track, not to mention a full description of the organ, including registrations for each of the pieces. The print on the front cover is from an amazing 18th-century painting by Johann Morgenstern of the Interior of a Gothic Church, but there is a black and white photo of the impressive-looking Trinity organ inside.
-- Byzantion, MusicWeb International
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