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Friedhelm Flamme - W.F. Bach: Complete Organ Works (2010) SACD

Classic, HD Tracks & Vinyl | Author: valechek | 20-09-2019, 14:25
Friedhelm Flamme - W.F. Bach: Complete Organ Works (2010) SACDArtist: Friedhelm Flamme
Title Of Album: W.F. Bach: Complete Organ Works
Year Of Release: 2010
Label: CPO
Country: Germany
Genre: Classical
Quality: SACD (*iso) 2.0; 5.0 + cover
Time: 01:08:59 min
Full Size: 3,26 Gb

Johan Sebastian Bach’s eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann enjoyed renowned success during his lifetime as an organist and composer. However despite being hailed by some as the most gifted of J.S Bach’s sons, very few of his works documenting his rank as an organist have been printed. Many scholars suggest that most of W. F. Bach’s virtuoso performances consisted of improvisations. His great free (keyboard) fantasias give us an impression of these improvisations, while the seven chorale arrangements are maintained in an old-fashioned style more reminiscent of Pachelbel.
Johann Sebastian Bach's first son, born to his first wife Maria Barbara at Weimar in 1710, is perhaps the least-known of Bach's off-spring at the moment. His father's training led him to seek employments involving keyboard and organ playing, but unlike the rest of the family, he tended to be somewhat dissolute and idle. Despite this, his musical powers had one of the highest public reputations of his dynasty. A contemporary music critic, Christian Schubart, wrote effusively of him as "a very fiery genius... with the magical power to enchant every heart with his play of the organ... a pity that his compositions are rare and more precious than gold... but it may console us that this first-rate master collects his organ pieces and has promised to have them published after his death".
The final observation of Schubart's lyrical paean to Friedeman unfortunately appears not to have come to fruition, as the composer left surprisingly few published examples of his virtuosity and inventive style as an improviser on the organ. There are several recordings (including this one) which claim to offer the Complete Organ Works, yet they differ in contents. Doeselaar's classic 2-CD set is now very difficult to obtain, but there is a fine disc by Joan Brown (Naxos) with mostly the same pieces as Flamme's disc, but with two fugues lacking Falck or Br numbers. Fk numbers refer to the out-of-date catalogue by Martin Falck (1913), while BR numbers come from the new catalogue, Bach Repertorium (BR), being prepared by Peter Wollny (the author of excellent notes on the present CPO disc). Since the days of Falck, scholarship has progressed and authentication of Friedeman's works is now more secure. There is a further complication of recorded compilations in that some of the keyboard works are intended to be played either on the organ (without pedals) or the harpsichord.
Friedhelm Flamme has much experience in rpresenting the output of Baroque organ masters from Northern Europe, and he brings a fine sense of style, relatively up-tempo readings as suggested by modern scholarship, fluid lines and a creative use of colour in his registrations - a feature for which WF Bach was also much praised. Flamme attacks the magnificent Fantasias with great gusto, revelling in the virtuoso displays which they offer (billowing and glittering arpeggios like surging ocean waves being one of Friedeman's specialities). He quite rightly reminds us of Buxtehude's influence in the slightly archaic style of Friedeman's Chorale Preludes, and exploits the many insertions of the post-Baroque 'galant' style into the Friedeman's Fugues with great gusto.
The Hillebrand Organ at the Minister Church of St Alexandri at Eubeck was completed in 2007, and its two manual German style is excellently balanced for Baroque music. CPO's engineer sets the listener in the nave, with a real sense of the Minister's acoustic (especially in Multichannel mode). There is solid deep pedal rendition, although perhaps the fiery mixtures at the top end are a touch glaring at full climaxes. An all-permeating rumble issues from the blowers, noticeable but not particularly distracting: a hazard of many organ recordings. This is wisely continued across the track gaps, replacing the usual silences and thus avoiding uncomfortable high-lighting of the LF rumble's presence.
This disc gives a most enjoyable insight into WF Bach's art as an organist. Many pieces catch fire with that wonderful self-confidence and on-the-spot creativity which so illuminates the organ works of JS Bach. Definitely a must-have for collectors of organ music.

1. Fantasie
2. Acht Fugen
3. Acht Fugen
4. Acht Fugen
5. Acht Fugen
6. Acht Fugen
7. Acht Fugen
8. Acht Fugen
9. Acht Fugen
10. Sieben Choralvorspiele
11. Sieben Choralvorspiele
12. Sieben Choralvorspiele
13. Sieben Choralvorspiele
14. Fuge - falck 37
15. Fuge - falck 33
16. Fuge - falck 32
17. Sieben Choralvorspiele
18. Sieben Choralvorspiele
19. Sieben Choralvorspiele
20. Fantasie

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