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Complete Buxtehude Organ Works


jonadkins
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I have had Saorgin's set for many years, and found it very enjoyable. Of course there is considerable scope in deciding what a "complete set" of organ works should contain; there are about 20 pieces which you will find in sets by other performers which are not on Saorgin's, but this is partly a question of whether some pieces are "organ" or "harpsichord/clavichord", as if there was any rigid distinction in Buxtehude's time.

 

I also have Ulrik Spang-Hanssen's set and Harald Vogel's, and I wouldn't consistently rate any of these three sets better than the others, they all have valuable contributions to make.

 

You might find it "interesting" to listen to the disks available so far of what will be Hans Davidsson's complete set on the mean-tone organ as these may be nearer to the temperaments which were available on Buxtehude's organ. They may sound strange if you have only ever listened to equal temperament, but then Buxtehude himself probably never heard an equal-temperament organ in his life. They certainly throw some new light on the music, but I wouldn't want them as my only set.

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I have purchased the Bine Bryndor set, 6 individual CDs on the DaCapo label which I enjoy although there are a few pieces missing.

 

For those who might like to search for Bine's CDs, the surname is 'Bryndorf' with an 'f'.

 

I own both Bine and Vogel's Buxtehude recordings - still to acquire Bine's 6th, though - and recommend them happily.

 

For those who like Koopman's approach, he is recording the complete works of Buxtehude. Some short samples of the organ works can be found on his web site at:

http://www.tonkoopman.nl/buxvol03cd1nr01.mp3

 

John Scott's performance of the organ works of Buxtehude at Saint Thomas' is still available online, free!

http://www.saintthomaschurch.org/stream-Bux.html

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What a lot of Buxtehude recordings were released last year! But, as this thread began with Saorgin, so will I. Saorgin's recording is a child of its time and should be seen as such. Ideas about registration, rhetoric, tempi, and of course editions have moved on. The organ choice is also a bit hit and miss I think. On the one hand Zwolle and Alkmaar are right on the mark, and its interesting to hear Alkmaar before the 1986 restoration. Saorgin uses the Sesquialteras as solo stops for example - this is now impossible as they have been put back to their original 16' pitch. Arlesheim on the other hand seems a curious choice for Buxtehude.

 

If you only have one Buxtehude cycle in your collection, than I think it should still be that of Harald Vogel. This not only because Vogel is one of the greatest organ artists in the world, but also because he, in a sense, invented the present performance practice climate around Buxtehude's music, at least in as far as registration and rhetoric are concerned. Anyone who has studied with Harald Vogel, or seen him teach a masterclass will understand what I mean. The organs on those discs are wonderful of course.

 

Of the more recent recordings, I admire Bine Bryndorf especially for the fact that her playing reflects very closely the notation in the newest editions; her execution of the proportio is exemplary. Personally I find her tempi rather quick and her accellerandi at the beginning of praeludia (at least in the early volumes) rather bothersome, its a Vogel mannerism! Bine Bryndorf is a wonderful organist, one of the best Radulescu students. She plays good instruments on her Buxtehude discs (including Hamburg St Jacobi).

 

I also have complete Spang-Hansen and the new Koopman discs. Spang-Hansen is fast and funky, and quite fun, but too eccentric to be your only choice. Likewise Koopman, on whose recording the proportio is notable only by its absence. Koopman's violent touch also manages to make those wonderful organs some quite unpleasant, especially in the dry acoustics.

 

The other newish discs I've enjoyed very much are the Julia Brown releases on Naxos. Of these the last 3 discs, recorded on the divine Martin Pasi organ at Omaha, Nebraska stand out. Brown plays with a heightened sense of 'affect' and rhetoric, and is much less bright and breezy than Spang-Hansen, Koopman, or even Bryndorf. I adore her playing! Those discs are worth buying just for the organ though, a 2003 50-something stop instrument, with a big romantic swell, however, 28 stops on Great, Positive and Pedal can be played in 1/4 comma meantone! (Those stops have 20 pipes per octave!). When you've listened to the Buxtehude discs, go out and buy the 'Widor organ favorites' release (also Naxos) played on the same organ by Robert Delcamp. You won't believe you're listening to the same organ. Martin Pasi is one of the world's few truly great organ builders.

 

I have to say, the idea of Christopher Herrick recording a complete Buxtehude cycle doesn't excite me, his undoubted talents surely lie elsewhere.

 

Greetings

 

Bazuin

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Bine Bryndorf is a wonderful organist, one of the best Radulescu students.

One of the advantages of learning from Radulescu was that you were always in the company of extremely talented students. Yes, Bine is a wonderful organist, but Radulescu attracted a large number of other students that really are extraordinary organists. When I think of the likes of Brett Leighton, Thomas Daniel Schlee, Guido Meyer, Wolfgang Zerer, Juergen Essl, Michael Kitzinger and so many others, I am reluctant to try ranking them.

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"One of the advantages of learning from Radulescu was that you were always in the company of extremely talented students. Yes, Bine is a wonderful organist, but Radulescu attracted a large number of other students that really are extraordinary organists. When I think of the likes of Brett Leighton, Thomas Daniel Schlee, Guido Meyer, Wolfgang Zerer, Juergen Essl, Michael Kitzinger and so many others, I am reluctant to try ranking them."

 

I take it from your comment that you are also an ex-Radulescu student, lucky you! I should also like to mention Pier Damiano Peretti, who has inherited something of the genius I think. Interesting that Radulescu the pedagogue is better known than Radulescu the organist, maybe Fiffaro can offer some first-hand insights into what makes him so extraordinary?

 

Thanks in advance

 

greetings

 

Bazuin

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