As his long-term project of recording Johann Sebastian Bach's complete sacred cantatas with the Bach Collegium Japan drew to a close, conductor Masaaki Suzuki returned to his first career as an organist, launching a series of Bach's organ music on BIS with the first volume in 2015 and a second in 2017. This 2019 installment features performances on the 1714 organ in Freiberg Cathedral by Gottfried Silbermann, an instrument from Bach's time constructed by one of his associates. Silbermann was noted for his early fortepianos, prompting Bach's pun that they had a "silvery tone." The same might be said for the bright registration of this organ, which is most noticeable in such brilliant works as the Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 531 and the Toccata in C major, BWV 566, though darker stops are used in the somber Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537 and the monumental Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582. Underlying the program is a focus on the pitch C, which helps to unify the contrasting major and minor modes through the parallel tonality. Yet even in the chorale preludes, which are centered in G major or E minor, there is a quiet, reflective mood that is enhanced by Suzuki's choices of appropriate tone colors to suit their devotional character. This BIS multichannel recording captures the organ with a wide audio range and clear details at all volumes, so this hybrid SACD is well-balanced for home listening.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 531|
|Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537|
|Chorale Partita on 'Ach was soll ich Sünder machen?' BWV 770|
|Prelude and Fugue in C minor, BWV 546|