Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Pachelbel, Johann. (1653-1706) Organ Works.

New acquisition.
Bought in March 2016.
First listen: 22-3-2016.
Second listen: 9-11-2016.
Third listen: 4-1-2017.
Label: Ars Musici.
Recording dates:  September 2009.
Recording venue: Sankt Petri-Kirche, Erfurt-Bussleben, Germany.
Recording engineer: Harry de Winde.
Running time: 71:30.
Classical relevance: Interesting enough to have.

Works performed:

Miscellaneous Organ Works.

Performed by:

Jozef Sluys.

Instrument:

Sterzing Organ 1702.
Pitch: a'= c. 517 Hz.
Meantone temperament after Praetorius.

Pachelbel's organ works are virtually unknown these days, despite the fact that there are quite some recordings on the market. A little bird told me that the label Brilliant will eventually record all his works, and maybe Krebs is also a contender. I hope they choose the right organists and instruments, and a excellent sound engineer. Now that would be bliss!

During Pachelbel's life time he was highly regarded, proved by the circumstance that more than four collections of his organ works were printed and published. This alone proves that he had more to say that some mere musical trifles.  He was a good friend to many of the Bach family including the parents of Johann Sebastiaan Bach. Also, his fame as a composer and teacher was beyond reproach. Pachelbel had many influences and stimulus from the musical environment around him. > It is said that the entire work of Pachelbel presents an unique combination of Southern German polyphony and Northern German counterpoint.< And that is exactly what you hear on this recording. The Belgian organist Jozef Sluys is a musician who received many honours for his musical accomplishments. He was knighted and awarded countless medals and titles. Having previous heard Scheidemann by his hands my hopes were high for the Pachelbel recording, but that did not quite work out the way I expected.  His playing is one of ease and gentleness. There is little in the way excitement or enthusiasm, and therefore polyphony and counterpoint suffer in the process, but especially the polyphony. The tempi are at time laborious and a tad dragging. Little imagination, and so it comes down to a conservative interpretation. There are certainly moments of beauty in his playing, for instance in the somewhat slow Ciacona in D minor, and in the Choral "Meine Seele erhebt den Herren". For me this CD is a mixed bag of good and not so good things. Despite the slight criticisms I have, it is for me a worthwhile acquisition. I love the Sterzing organ, but find this recording a bit frontal and raw. The detail is clear though. The organ has a interesting history, well worth your time to Google.




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