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These three recordings, all Bach-focused, explore different repertoires on differing organs. The 1761 Silbermann at Arlesheim is the only period organ (although rebuilt in 1840 and 1961), on which Nordstoga gives fine accounts of the five concerto arrangements. However, hearing all five contiguously is hardly the best way of listening, and the 16ft Pedal Bombarde sometimes speaks late. More beautiful are the 15 chorale preludes and the partita Sei gegrüsset, which demonstrate the colours of this organ magnificently.

Art of Fugue has a history of editions and recordings for organ, even though Gustav Leonhardt showed conclusively that the cycle was conceived for harpsichord. Joan Lippincott uses Christoph Wolff’s edition (1987) and only uses the Pedal for those fugues with registrations approaching a plenum. The organ is used imaginatively, with a varied palette of plausible 18th-century colours. The playing is clean and she has a fine command of structures. Some fugues are a touch too reverent for me, and releases of chords are not always together – an idiom more suited to the harpsichord. The final unfinished fugue breaks off in mid-air, and I would have relished the addition of Vor deinen Thron to conclude. Even so, a really worthwhile recording.

As volume 6 of his complete Bach series, Koevoets has chosen the huge 85-stop Marcussen in Rotterdam. it is recorded with much ambience, as if one was in this enormous building. hence the tempi are unhurried, even slow in certain pieces, with deliberate manual articulation in the ‘Dorian’ toccata (but more legato quavers in the Pedal). Besides BWV 538, we have BWV 535, Trio Sonata no.1, the three chorale preludes on Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland from the ‘18’, and the Concerto in D minor. The infinite variety of colours from this organ is well demonstrated.

DAVID PONSFORD Read the full review on Agora Classica

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