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This series of three CDs was recorded in April 2010 on the 2003 Heiko Lorenz organ in Bodin Church, northern Norway. The overall theme is of Bach’s early organ works, and the choice of this smallish parish church, with its beautiful baroque reredos dated 1670 and the II/28 organ, built both musically and decoratively in the style of Arp Schnitger and Christian Vater, seems a perfect choice for such a project.

The repertoire on these discs features the Neumeister chorale preludes, those from the Kirnberger collection and the Einzelnen überliefer- ten Chorale, as well as the Partita on Christ, der du bist der helle Tag. These are framed and supplemented by larger-scale pieces that Bach composed from his years at Lüneberg to Leipzig: fugues based on Legrenzi (BWV 574), Corelli (BWV 579) and the popular ‘fugue à la gigue’ (BWV 577); preludes BWV 578 and BWV 569 and the north-German Toccata in E (BWV 566). Four large-scale preludes and fugues are included: G major (BWV 541), C minor (BWV 546), F minor (534) and A major (BWV 536). Concertos are represented by the C major (BWV 594) after Vivaldi, and the (fairly inept) Concerto in G major (BWV 592) after Prince Johann Ernst, which Sanger plays in such a self- effacing way that is charming. The Trio in G major (BWV 1027a), the piece which served as a movement in the sonatas for viola da gamba and for two flutes, is delightfully played.

These CDs, the last recordings that Sanger made, complement the earlier Bach recordings for Meridian records, although there is little duplication. The clear recorded sound, the intimate acoustic and the colourful organ all contribute to these beautiful interpretations. What one hears is a wonderful musicality and an innate sense of style, which serves to demonstrate the music marvellously.

DAVID PONSFORD Read the full review on Agora Classica

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