J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Works for Organ, Volume X: The Leipzig Chorales

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Kevin Bowyer
Individual Works:The Eighteen Chorale Preludes from the Leipzig Autograph BWV 651- 668a:
Fantasia super Komm, Heiliger Geist [Herre Gott] 
BWV 651
Komm, Heiliger Geist [Herre Gott]  BWV 652
An Wasserflüssen Babylon  BWV 653
Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele  BWV 654
Trio super Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend  BWV 655
O, Lamm Gottes, unschuldig  BWV 656
Nun danket alle Gott  BWV 657
Von Gott will ich nicht lassen  BWV 658
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland  BWV 659
Trio super Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland  BWV 660
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland  BWV 661
Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr  BWV 662
Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr  BWV 663
Trio super Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr  BWV 664
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland [der von uns]  BWV 665
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland [der von uns]  BWV 666
Komm, Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist  BWV 667
Vor deinen Tron tret ich [hiermit] oder Wenn wir in
höchsten Nöten sein
  BWV 668a
Fugue in A major BWV 949
Wenn dich Unglück tut greifen an  BWV 1104
Wie nach einer Wasserquelle  BWV 1119
Ach Gott, tu dich erbarmen  BWV 1109
Als Jesus Christus in der Nacht  BWV 1108
Concerto in C (after Antonio Vivaldi) BWV 594
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Nimbus
Catalog Number:NI 5573/4
Year Released/Recorded:1997
Total Playing Time:1 hr 54 min
Comments:Todd M. Billeci

The Marcussen Organ at Sct. Hans Kirke, Odense, Denmark

Overview - Bowyer's cycle, in progress since 1991, features unmannered virtuosity, an organ of striking tone quality and an exceptionally realistic modern recording. Each disc contains a variety of works in the form of a recital, sustaining interest throughout. Bowyer's intriguing registrations distinguish the set.

Volume X - The Eighteen Leipzig Chorales occupy most of this 2-CD volume. The fair copy of "The 18" was completed in the last year of JSB's life simultaneously with the final transcription of the B minor Mass. These mature Bach works (and the CD overall) lack the pyrotechnics of early virtuoso works (e.g. BWV 565) and focus instead on contrapuntal and spiritual density. This music is made up of the Special Stuff at the center of stars.

Bowyer's sensitive cantabile hypnotizes - and I'd liken his performances here to those of pianist Sviatoslav Richter at his most inspired. The mood is meditative and deep, excepting a fill-up in the form of the ebullient concerto in C after Vivaldi...presumably programmed finis to transport the listener back to this Earth at the end. Full recommendation.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Todd M. Billeci
Date First Submitted:10/29/1998