Canto Armonico / Bálint Karosi / Cheryl Ryder / Ulf Wellner

Bach: Clavierübung III - The Chorales

(CD - Hungaroton #HCD 3274546)

Review by

One of J.S. Bach's most demanding works for organ, the Clavier-Übung III (sometimes called the German Organ Mass) is made of 21 chorale settings of the Lutheran mass and the catechism, followed by the Four Duets, BWV 802-805, and it is framed by the celebrated "St. Anne" Prelude and Fugue in E flat major. This Hungaraton recording by organist Bálint Karosi is notable for its incorporation of the voices of Canto Armonico, directed by Ulf Wellner and Cheryl Ryder, so the listener can appreciate the chorale melodies with the sung texts, and better understand the theological underpinnings of Bach's magisterial organ compendium. Yet the performance is not complete, because the Four Duets have been omitted on the grounds that they are an anomaly, thematically unconnected to the chorales and essentially not intended as organ pieces. So this trimmed-down version of the Clavier-Übung III is a celebration of the Lutheran hymns that informed so much of German music in the Baroque era, and provided Bach with an endless source of inspiration. Recorded in 2013 at Boston's First Lutheran Church, the performance has a warm and vibrant quality, though there is a softening of the organ's sound because of the resonant acoustics.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Praeludium und Fuge, BWV 552
1 08:09 Amazon
2 02:15 Amazon
3 01:15 Amazon
4 01:17 Amazon
5 01:23 Amazon
Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit, SWV 420
6 01:16 Amazon
7 03:10 Amazon
Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit, SWV 420
8 02:01 Amazon
9 04:25 Amazon
Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit, SWV 420
10 01:28 Amazon
11 05:19 Amazon
12 00:55 Amazon
13 03:31 Amazon
14 01:59 Amazon
15 04:38 Amazon
16 01:01 Amazon
17 00:39 Amazon
18 04:31 Amazon
19 01:36 Amazon
20 01:56 Amazon
21 01:38 Amazon
22 03:04 Amazon
23 05:58 Amazon
24 01:44 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 00:52 Amazon
2 01:12 Amazon
3 05:16 Amazon
4 06:39 Amazon
5 01:17 Amazon
6 04:19 Amazon
7 02:28 Amazon
8 01:25 Amazon
9 01:02 Amazon
10 06:25 Amazon
11 02:30 Amazon
12 04:41 Amazon
13 00:50 Amazon
14 03:46 Amazon
15 04:48 Amazon
16 03:59 Amazon
Praeludium und Fuge, BWV 552
17 06:54 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick