The promise of greatness continues in this superb second volume.

“The Bach Project, Volume 2” = BACH: Prelude and Fugue in C major, bwv 545; Chorale: Ein’ feste burg ist unser gott, BWV 720; Chorale: Nun danket alle gott, bwv 657 (“Leipzig” chorale No. 7); Trio sonata No. 2 in c, BWV 526; Chorale: Von gott will ich nicht lassen, BWV 658 (“Leipzig” No. 8); Concerto in a, BWV 593 (after Vivaldi: Concerto for Two Violins and Strings in A minor, Op.3, No.8); Sechs choräle von verschiedener art (“Schübler” chorales); Toccata and Fugue in f major, BWV 540 – Todd Fickley, organ – MSR Classics MS 1562, 73:21 [Distr. by Albany] *****:

I’ll probably have to put this at the beginning of every disc in this series, so here it is: go to Vol. 1 to get an overview of exactly what the Hauptwerk technology is that allows this series to progress from organ of choice to organ of choice without actually being on site! For volume two we are using the Marcussen & Son organ from the Netherlands (1973). This is a much bigger instrument than the small 1721 Dutch instrument in volume one, and features a six-second reverb reflective of a massive space and organ. As in the first issue, there is a fine mix of bombastic works with the more sedate and subtle, and Fickley continues to display a sense of wonder at the music performed as well as an innate understanding of the proper tempi and colors inherent in the organ as pertains to the recording space.

I lamented the fact that this is not being done in surround sound, and that lament remains, but again MSR does respond with gracious and warm sonics that remind one of the great records of yesteryear. This second disc continues the hopes expressed in the first, and I think we are really onto something here.

—Steven Ritter