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First, an interesting programme based around the teacher/ pupil link between Georg Böhm and J.S. Bach, with both free and chorale-based works. The opening C major Praeludium of Böhm opens well, then becomes rather over-articulated and lacking movement – a char- acteristic of many of these performances. Over-articulation plus a very slow tempo gives the repeated bass line of Böhm’s well known setting of Vater unser a plodding character of eight in a bar. The best on this disc is the Prelude & Fugue BWV 531, where at last Vincent Bernhardt allows the music to move more naturally.

This is a nice organ, but sadly not a recording I can recommend. Why renaissance with a programme of baroque music? Because this organ is itself the renaissance of the original 1699 Schnitger of this church, wonderfully recreated by Bernhardt Edskes. This stunning new instrument, beautifully crafted and finely voiced and tuned, is as one would expect from this master organ builder. The temperament by Schlick from 1511 works remarkably well, giving plenty of colour to different keys and chromaticism without too much astringency. In the spacious gallery is a unique feature: a ‘continuo manual’ looking like a box organ near the front of the gallery behind the console, which plays six stops from the main organ manual divisions. The accompanying DVD has interviews with Ton Koopman (in Dutch) and Masaaki Suzuki (in English), two tracks of music also on the CD, and from the inaugural concert the Bach motet Singet dem Herrn,directed by Koopman. Tymen Jan Bronda plays a finely balanced programme, opening with Buxtehude’s Toccata BUXWV 155, an exciting, dramatic interpretation using many appropriate different registrations for the diverse sections of this work. He also plays the Böhm Vater unser at a musically sustainable tempo (and one and a half minutes shorter!) Works which stand out are the Weckmann Nun freut euch with its crazy chromaticism and weird final cadence, Bach’s fifth Trio Sonata, here with sparkling outer movements, and a well-paced, exciting F major Toccata BWV 540 to close. Recommended.

DOUGLAS HOLLICK Read the full review on Agora Classica


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