J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Orgelwerke, Vol. 5

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Marie-Claire Alain
Individual Works:Preludes & Fugues BWV BWV 537, BWV 549
Partita BWV 766
'Corelli' Fugue BWV 579
Choräle BWV 690, 691, 695-701, 703, 704, 706, 709, 712, 713, 721
(BWV 690 - BWV 721)
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Erato
Catalog Number:2292-45809-2
Year Released/Recorded:1992
Total Playing Time:66'06"
Comments:Todd M. Billeci said:

Alain uses a Silbermann organ J.S.B. probably played (1721, Rötha, Ger.) w/ only 24 stops. The excellent liner notes in her own hand indicate registration for each piece. Despite constant reg. changes, there's a limited pallette: no bassoon, no krumhorn, etc.

Tempi can be slow, esp. fughettas "Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland" BWV 699 (1'16") & "Jesu meine Freude" BWV 713 (4'35"). Her 713 ends with a flutelike whimper, whereas the organist Michael Chapius ended the piece a bang & pushed the tempo. Alain's analyses of 713 claim the end represents a "pastoral" over the words "Lamb of God," in which case her reading is appropriate. The score is marked dolce where she turns on only flutes, exactly the point where Chapius opens up.

This is not a dazzling/toe-tapping organ CD, but seems to be so for reasons of the old organ itself & Alain's scholarly hypotheses. Following the score, I noticed she takes her time & shapes every phrase. It is marvelously sensitive playing. It was a shame that the Penguin Guide awarded a **(*) rating. However, those seeking organ-blasting thrills will not find them here.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Todd M. Billeci
Date First Submitted:08/15/1998