Monday, February 14, 2011

Bach: Orgelwerke 'Toccaten & Fugen' - Ton Koopman

Johann Sebastian Bach
Toccaten & Fugen
Ton Koopman
Archiv 410 999-2

After years of listening to plodding unimaginative endlessly legato French and American styles of ruining Bach's organ music (trust me here I had such an organ professor in college who positively stifled organ music with his hideous Dupre edition) - music barely able to breathe, it's refreshing to hear someone who can use staccato, marcato and ornamentation and play with panache and passion, and give this grand music the grand sound and life it deserves. So what about odd trills and a dropped pedal. Go back to Karl Richter, Marie Claire Alain or E. Power Biggs if you want to hear some flubs, and even Peter Hurford on occasion - a far more imaginative player than most but still far short of Koopman - misses a few. Ignore the review below this one, buy this disk, and give any other performance of these pieces a comparison with any other celebrated organist and you'll hear what I mean. Compare only Koopman's elegantly ornamented interpretation of the Adagio from the Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue, and you'll immediately hear it. I rather suspect the reviewer below is one of those who prefers gigantic Moron Block and Tackle choir performances of the B Minor Mass, horrid modern strings scraping away, Boesendorffer imperial grands pounding out the continuo, voices pitched and warbling just this side of hysteria and wading through the work like the Wehrmacht through Russian mud. Give us a break.

Joseph P Farrell, Amazon Customer Review

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