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Playing once again on one of the finest organs left to us by the 1970s (which doesn’t entirely explain its newly-found popularity among British players making Bach CDs), Robert Quinney continues his Bach cycle with a programme including Sei gegrüsset, a number of the Leipzig chorales, the Concerto in D minor, and the Prelude & Fugue in E minor BWV 548. Quinney’s playing is scrupulously neat and tidy, bristling with a momentum heightened by his taste for added ornamentation. What I miss is any real rhythmic or even rhetorical expression (the seufzers in his relentless BWV 651 are virtually staccato, and the brisk tempo and ornamention are more TGV than tongues of fire). The tempo in the early variations of Sei gegrüsset wanders too far from that of the chorale, with a resulting loss of unity. The third variation, for example, is markedly faster and played on a gap registration as in the days of yore; the fourth, meanwhile, is significantly slower. I suspect also that many will find his approach to the BWV 548 E minor Fugue (limited chorus with no pedal reed, contrasting registrations at the semiquaver passages and the addition of tierces, mixtures and pedal reeds at and during the da capo) to be old-fashioned. Judging someone else’s approach to Bach is inevitably highly personal and subjective; in that most crowded of market places, Quinney’s Bach, for me, falls short.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica

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