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J.s. Bach: Organ Works, Vol. 8

Bach,J.s. / Phillips
Release Date: 04/09/2013 
Label:  Regent   Catalog #: 328   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 32 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BACH Preludes & Fugues: in D, BWV 532; in a, BWV 543; in d, “Fiddle,” BWV 539. Trios: in d, BWV 583; in c, BWV 585. Fantasia et Imitatio in b, BWV 563. Fantasias: in c, BWV 562; in G, Read more BWV 571. Fugue in g, BWV 578. Prelude in a, BWV 569. Trio Sonata No. 4 in e. Neumeister Chorales, BWV 714, 719, 737, 742, 957, 1090-1120 Margaret Phillips (org) REGENT 328 (2 CDs: 152:29)


Margaret Phillips’s traversal of Bach’s complete organ works continues apace with this release, numbered Vol. VIII. I was impressed enough with a couple of her previous issues to continue to request her CDs, and she does not disappoint. Phillips, for me, is not quite as exciting a Bach organist as Jean Guillou, E. Power Biggs at his best, or Virgil Fox on good behavior, but those musicians are among the elite organists of all time. I certainly enjoy Phillips’s recordings about as much as those of Marie-Clair Alain, and that’s a high standard indeed.


Continuing her practice of recording each album, and sometimes separate discs in each two-CD set, on different organs, Phillips plays all of these pieces on a 1727 organ by Christian Müller in the “Grote Kerk” of Leeuwarden, capital of the north Dutch province of Friesland. As per the notes, the organ was modified in 1885 to make it more fashionably romantic, but then these changes were reversed in 1972-76 by Bakker and Timmenga. The notes mention that “Of the 38 stops, eight had to be completely, and seven partially remade, but 23 still have their original pipework.”


My impression of this organ, not only from the opening selection—the very powerful and dramatic Prelude & Fugue, BWV 532, with its driving, slashing momentum in the latter half—but throughout the two discs is of an instrument with a certain rich, mellow quality, somewhat muffled in timbre when Phillips attempts to “open up” its sound. I’m sure that she did everything she could to achieve this, as her reputation as a master organist of our time is undisputed (and, as usual, the exact stops used in each piece are documented in the booklet), but sometimes these old organs just didn’t have that great a range of colors. This was the reason Bach kept trying out new and different organs as long as he was able to travel, and the reason why Fox (among others) believe that Bach would have reveled in the more colorful organs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but musicologists are a stubborn bunch, and they refuse to allow Bach to be played on modern organs (though, ironically, they seem to have absolutely no control over the hundreds of musicians who play his music on modern pianos!). Phillips does her level best to employ a variety of colors and timbres in her playing, but inevitably—due to the nature of this instrument—it is the soft, opaque colors that impress the listener more. Every time she tries to open up, the instrument retains a mellow quality that fights against her intention.


Yet, as I tried to make clear in the previous paragraph, Phillips is an outstanding organist who does her level best to work against this instrument’s tendencies. Being originally built in 1727, it is an instrument from Bach’s early middle age. By the time old J. S. died in 1750, even within his fairly narrow range of travel, there were organs with bell and chimes stops, which he dearly loved, as well as slightly more power in the large pipes.


Despite the presence of two outstanding preludes and fugues, two fantasias, a few trios and a Trio Sonata, this release focuses on the Neumeister Chorales . These come from a folio only discovered at Yale University in 1984 that was put together by a copyist named Johann Gottfried Neumeister (1757-1840). This folio included 82 chorale preludes, of which 38 were composed by Bach and 25 by his father-in-law, Johann Michael Bach (1648-1694). How this folio ended up at Yale is explained in the booklet: It was donated to the library in 1873 as part of Lowell Mason’s library, and he had acquired it in 1852 from Christian Heinrich Rinck. Thus we can see that the folio underwent 111 years of complete neglect before someone had the smart idea to actually look inside it and see what was in it. So much for academic curiosity!


The attribution of these 38 chorale preludes to Bach is almost certain, particularly since all but four were listed in his Orgelbüchlein, and the last two are actually Orgelbüchlein preludes (BWV 601 and 639) and so are not included in this recording. Since the two known preludes stem from early in the 18th century, the presumption in the notes is that all of these also come from that time, thus they represent the work of a possibly teenaged Bach experimenting with various forms, especially the four-part harmonization of the cantus firmus in the soprano, generally imitating the style of Pachelbel who had taught Bach’s older brother. It is most certainly good music, if not scintillating or the most inventive Bach one has ever heard, but as a group (and it’s a fairly large group, as the header of this review will indicate) they tend to sound very much alike: medium slow in tempo, generally quiet and contemplative in volume, the kind of music one normally hears when coming into a church about a half-hour before the service begins and hearing the organist “warming up.” In short, they are instructive and certainly were worth recording, but as a body of work they make somewhat monotonous listening. Thus the prospective purchaser of this set is recommended to take them a few at a time and not to try to listen to the entire set all at once.


Just to give one indication of how good an organist Phillips is, however, I commend to you her performance of the relatively well-known Fugue in G Minor (BWV 578). Coming as it does in the middle of disc 1, amid a clutch of Neumeister Chorale s, it is a breath of fresh air; Phillips plays it in a light, feathery style but with superb articulation of each note, almost making this fugue dance. Happily, the particular Neumeister Chorale that follows (“Wir glauben all an einen Gott”) is in a somewhat louder, more “open” style, and this, too, is good programming, as it keeps the listener on his or her toes.


One could certainly go into detail on each of her performances in this set, but the bottom line is that for those wishing a truly complete compendium of Bach’s organ music you certainly won’t go wrong acquiring this disc or any of the seven volumes which preceded it. As usual with Regent, the recorded sound is forward and also captures the ambience of the church in which the organ is housed, so that the discs have both presence and naturalness.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Germany 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 10 Minutes 24 Secs. 
2.
Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich, BWV 719 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 1 Minutes 43 Secs. 
3.
Wir Christenleut, BWV 1090 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 1 Minutes 59 Secs. 
4.
Das alte Jahr vergangen ist, BWV 1091 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
5.
Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel, BWV 1092 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 19 Secs. 
6.
Trio for Organ in D minor, BWV 583 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 4 Minutes 55 Secs. 
7.
Herzliebster Jesu, BWV 1093 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
8.
O Jesu, wie ist dein Gestalt, BWV 1094 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
9.
O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig, BWV 1095 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 1 Minutes 51 Secs. 
10.
Fantasie and Fugue in C minor, BWV 562 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; ?Weimar, Germany 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 4 Minutes 53 Secs. 
11.
Christ, der du bist Tag und Licht, BWV 1096 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 53 Secs. 
12.
Ehre sei dir, Christe, BWV 1097 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 4 Secs. 
13.
Fugue in G minor, BWV 578 "Little G minor" by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1706; Arnstadt, Germany 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
14.
Wir glauben all an einen Gott, BWV 1098 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
15.
Aus tiefer Not schrei'ich zu dir, BWV 1099 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
16.
Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 1100 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 12 Secs. 
17.
Ach, Gott und Herr, BWV 714 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; ?Weimar, Germany 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 23 Secs. 
18.
Fantasia in B minor, BWV 563 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1707; Arnstadt, Germany 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
19.
Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder, BWV 742 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
20.
Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt, BWV 1101 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 3 Minutes 9 Secs. 
21.
Du Friedenfürst, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 1102 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
22.
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, BWV 1103 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 1 Minutes 40 Secs. 
23.
Vater unser im Himmelreich, BWV 737 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; ?Weimar, Germany 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
24.
Prelude in A minor, BWV 569 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; Mühlhausen, Germany 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 4 Minutes 36 Secs. 
25.
Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; ?Weimar, Germany 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 9 Minutes 40 Secs. 
26.
Wenn dich Unglück tut greifen an, BWV 1104 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 1 Minutes 39 Secs. 
27.
Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 1105 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 1 Minutes 53 Secs. 
28.
Gott ist mein Heil, mein Hilf', BWV 1106 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 1 Minutes 51 Secs. 
29.
Jesu, meines Lebens Leben, BWV 1107 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 1 Minutes 42 Secs. 
30.
Als Jesus Christus in der Nacht, BWV 1108 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
31.
Trio Sonata for Organ no 4 in E minor, BWV 528 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1727; Leipzig, Germany 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 8 Minutes 30 Secs. 
32.
Ach Gott tu dich erbarmen, BWV 1109 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
33.
O Herre Gott, dein göttlich Wort, BWV 1110 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 20 Secs. 
34.
Nun lasst uns den Leib begraben, BWV 1111 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
35.
Christus, der ist mein Leben, BWV 1112 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 1 Minutes 48 Secs. 
36.
Ich hab'mein Sach Gott heimgestell, BWV 1113 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
37.
Fantasie in G major, BWV 571 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 7 Minutes 5 Secs. 
38.
Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut, BWV 1114 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
39.
Herzlich Lieb hab ich dich, o Herr, BWV 1115 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
40.
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, BWV 1116 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
41.
Alle Menschen müssen sterben, BWV 1117 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 14 Secs. 
42.
Trio for Organ in C minor, BWV 585 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: after 1750; Germany 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 4 Minutes 50 Secs. 
43.
Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt, BWV 957 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
44.
Werde munter, mein Gemüte, BWV 1118 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 1 Minutes 53 Secs. 
45.
Wie nach einer Wasserquelle, BWV 1119 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 1 Minutes 50 Secs. 
46.
Christ, der du bist der helle Tag, BWV 1120 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 1 Minutes 49 Secs. 
47.
Prelude and Fugue in D minor, BWV 539 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Margaret Margaret Phillips (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720-1725 
Venue:  Grote Kerk (Jacobijnerkerk), Leeuwarden 
Length: 6 Minutes 44 Secs. 

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