When it comes to religious intensity and spiritual severity in Baroque organ music, nobody beats Sweelinck -- not Böhm, not Buxtehude, not Lübeck, not Tunder, not Pachelbel, not even Bach. The Dutch Reform Calvinist composer was a true believer who found the Truth with a capital T in the correct sequence of pitches and durations, and his organ music is at once instantly apprehensible and infinitely profound. In this superb collection by Japanese organist, harpsichordist, and conductor Masaaki Suzuki, Sweelinck's toccatas, Psalms, and chorales are presented with utmost sincerity and maximum musicality. Suzuki, who may be best known internationally as the leader of BIS' Bach cantata series, is a more than capable organist -- which is fine since the works here demand no more than a capable technique -- but, more importantly, he's also a very soulful musician -- which is better since these works depend far more on soul than on skill. Suzuki doesn't sentimentalize Sweelinck's music -- the austere lines and ascetic harmonies wouldn't bear it -- but he does make it as human and as approachable as possible, and the result is a recital that may convert the unconverted. BIS' recording of the 2002 Marc Garnier organ of Shinko-Kyokai, Kobe, is so real you can feel the bass notes in your bone marrow.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
O mijn God, wilt mij nu bevrijden (Psalm 140, O Dieu, donne-moy delivrance), variations for keyboard
Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, chorale variations (4) for organ (collaboration with other composers)