“Alte Meister” = Works of MUFFAT, WALTHER, BUXTEHUDE, J.S. BACH, PACHELBEL, STRUNGK & KERIL in arr. by Karl Straube [TrackList follows] – MDG Scene

by | May 3, 2012 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

“Alte Meister” = Works of MUFFAT, WALTHER, BUXTEHUDE, J.S. BACH, PACHELBEL, STRUNGK & KERIL in arr. by Karl Straube [TrackList follows] – MDG Scene multichannel (2+2+2) SACD MDG 946 1740-6, [Distr. by E1] 75:35 ****:
This organ album is sort of like the Leopold Stokowski arrangements of familiar Bach works for full orchestra. Karl Straube (although he lived until 1950) edited and published in 1904 for Peters the volume titled “Old Masters: An Anthology of German Organ Compositions from the 17th and 18th Centuries”.  His idea was that the earlier organ works of composers such as those included here were being forgotten because the accent was now on the late-Romantic pneumatic action organs with all sorts of different registers plus a crescendo pedal. The ultimate in the more orchestral sound of the pipe organ was of course the French Organ School instruments and works. It was the time of the great symphony orchestras, playing massive works by Wagner, Liszt and others, and the pipe organ needed to keep up.
So Straube in effect orchestrated the organ works of the Baroque composers for the more versatile tonal resources of larger pipe organs—such as the one used for these recordings: the 1905 Sauer-Orgel in the Berlin Cathedral. This was long before the extensive musicological research into authentic early music which has resulted in today’s early music movement, although as early as the 1930s some choral directors were reducing the huge number of singers and instruments involved in the performance of some of Bach’s works. (Although one of Straube’s own pupils observed “Now we play more correctly, but earlier everything was more beautiful.”)
This is a very big organ, and MDG has achieved an appropriate very big sound with it. The lowest pipes will rattle one’s surroundings, and the dynamic range of some of the works is much greater than one usually hears in organ works. The various voices in the contrapuntal works are more strongly brought out and the construction of the work made more understandable. If you’re looking for an antidote to the usual somewhat dry Baroque approach on most of today’s early music organ recordings, this SACD will be just the thing.
TrackList:
Muffat, Georg : Passacaglia for organ in G major
Walther, Johann Gottfried : Partita for organ “Meinen Jesum laá ich nicht”
Dietrich Buxtehude : Passacaglia for organ in D minor, BuxWV 161
Dietrich Buxtehude : Praeludium for organ in F sharp minor, BuxWV 146
Dietrich Buxtehude : Ciacona for organ in C minor, BuxWV 159
Bach, Johann Sebastian : In dulci jubilo (IV), chorale prelude for organ (by Johann Micheal Bach, not J.S.), BWV 751
Pachelbel, Johann : Toccata, for organ in F major (II), T. 242
Pachelbel, Johann : Ciacona, for organ in D minor (Dorian mode), T. 204
Pachelbel, Johann : Chorale Prelude “Vater unser im Himmelreich” (II), for organ, T. 62
Muffat, Georg : Toccata for organ no 6 (from Apparatus musico-organisticus, Part 1)
Strungk, Delphin : Lass mich dein sein und bleiben, chorale for organ
Kerll, Johann Kaspar : Passacaglia
—John Sunier

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