horizontal line

The Treutmann organ is a fine instrument, but it is not ideal for Buxtehude. I know this organ: it is all in one case with no Rückpositiv, and in cavernous baroque acoustics. The organs Buxtehude knew almost always had the Rückpositiv, with the corresponding architectural distance between divisions used in specific ways in all the north German organ music of this period. The acoustics of the brick Gothic churches of that area (which I also know well) are resonant but clear. Friedhelm Flamme so often uses registrations which are not clear enough, given how the Grauhof acoustics favour the bass, and loss of clarity is a real problem, particularly in faster tempi. There are moments of real beauty, particularly with the more delicate individual stops, for instance BUXWV 195 and 207, but also some bizarre registrations and manual changes which simply don’t make sense, for instance in the Passacaglia. It is odd that in BUXWV 177 and 75 Flamme plays what should be the lefthand on the pedal, and the slow cantus firmus in the left hand, with the result that the bass line is often muddled by the acoustics. Regardless of modern editorial layout, the tradition here is always to play the slow melodic solo line on a suitably pitched pedal stop. It’s sad to have to say that this recording is so disappointing, but there are many other recordings of Buxtehude available on more appropriate organs, and with much better understanding of the associated performance practice.

DOUGLAS HOLLICK Read the full review on Agora Classica

   Read full review   

To continue reading, please upgrade to a premium account. You will have immediate full access.

Read more classical music reviews online here:

Choir & Organ, 2021 - ©Rhinegold Publishing