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The Stellwagen organ in Lübeck is much recorded and it’s not hard to see why it has held such fascination for recording artists since Helmut Walcha’s Bach recordings of the 1940s. But if for Walcha the smaller of the Jakobi organs seemed an ideal instrument for Bach, in its restored form it has become a much more obvious choice for organists wanting to explore the 17th-century Hanseatic repertoire up to, and including, Buxtehude. In this disc, American Jonathan Moyer, an assistant professor at Oberlin, offers intelligent and highly empathetic performances of music from the Lüneburger Orgeltabulature, a collection which the performer notes may have reflected the abilities of village organists of the time. But the music – especially, for example, the beguiling setting of Ich ruf zu dir – is of a high order. The programme begins with a Magnificat setting by Hieronymus Praetorius and ends a century later with Buxtehude’s Magnificat primi toni. Also included is repertoire by Tunder and Scheidemann, and Weckmann’s mercurial setting of Komm, Heiliger Geist, the organ’s exceptionally poetic flutes heard to great effect in the third verse. An auspicious start to a promising series of recordings.

CHRIS BRAGG Read the full review on Agora Classica

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