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James Johnstone’s Bach recordings continue on the superb Roskilde organ, a perfect partner in these north German-influenced free works. He uses a great variety of colour and clarity of playing, from the brilliant pleno of the opening BWV 545 to the quiet beauty of the Fantasia BWV 537, always with due regard to organ and acoustics. Particularly impressive are the Pièce d’orgue BWV 572 and the G minor Prelude & Fugue BWV 535. The opening of 572 sparkles, a rich, full registration and brisk tempo allowing the counterpoint of the central section clarity, while the final arpeggiated figuration is played with the panache of a harpsichordist. Particularly beautiful is the Prelude of 535, using delicate colours and subtle echoes. My only caveat would be that there is room for another 20 minutes of this wonderful playing!

Silvia Tomat plays a fine modern organ, presenting a varied programme of free and chorale-based works. The opening BWV 566 has a suitably fine sense of rhetoric, but sounds a little too careful. The Trio Sonata BWV 526 receives a fine performance, with well-judged tempi, and the chorale partita BWV 766 shows offmany beautiful quiet registers of the organ; these two works show Tomat at her best. She also plays the Pièce d’orgue – a very similar approach to the opening as Johnstone, but the central and concluding sections much slower, rather lacking in move- ment and two minutes longer than Johnstone’s performance. Here is a fine, musical young player, but who has yet to fully show her potential.

DOUGLAS HOLLICK Read the full review on Agora Classica

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