- Audio CD (June 6 2000)
- Number of Discs: 8
- Format: Box set, Collector's Edition
- Label: Universal Music Canada
- ASIN: B00004SAAX
- In-Print Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #82,663 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Organ Works Box set, Collector's Edition
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A suitably prolific 12-CD set of the organ masterpieces by J.S. Bach-played by Helmut Walcha, the world's leading Bach interpreter! Toccata and Fugue in D Minor; Sleepers Awake; Art of the Fugue , and Bach's greatest preludes, trio sonatas, fantasies, passacaglias, chorale settings and more are all here, played on the Great Organ of St. Laurenskerk, Alkmaar, Netherlands and the Silbermann Organ in the Church of the St.-Pierre-le-Jeune, Strasburg. Awesome to behold!
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The recording space puts you in the organist's seat; together with Walcha's registrations, the results are the best I have heard, both performance-wise and recording-wise.
I am anxiously awaiting the CD release of Walcha's "The Well Tempered Clavier" on ARCHIV.
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Walcha's is a very interesting contrast. This set is of great historical importance, without doubt, and worth owning for that reason alone. I find the playing very pleasing and rock solid, relative to rhythmic sense, phrasing, and general interpretation. Overall, it "feels" more like a tradition interpretation than does Preston, which is understandable. That's in no way a problem, though. The contrast is instructive. There are indeed multiple ways to walk up a mountain.
Some of the recordings sound less aurally sharp than I'd have liked, but that's a minor point, and no problem at all once the music gets going. For the most part the recorded sound is very satisfying, and it's hard to believe, for example, that these recordings, made between 1959 and 1971, include some of the earliest stereo recordings ever made. The organs sound gorgeous. THIS surely is baroque organ as it ought to sound.
The packaging is very good - sturdy, full and detailed documentation of the organs, the player, the recordings themselves, and so on. All in all this is a wonderful set to have, listen to, study, and be grateful for.
Two last points. In Germany he is still revered as the great Bach organist. Not "romantic", not "academic" - just pure music. And, I guess, it is the essential musicality of his playing that is so affecting.
Years ago, I had some of Walcha's recordings of Bach's organ music on the Archiv label, on LPs of course. Now that this set is available on CD, and not even very expensive, it's a treat to become reacquainted with Bach and Walcha.