Scheidemann - Bruhns: Organ Works
27 November 2015
I guess over the years I have reviewed seven hundred and more organ discs, and this one of 17th century German music features among the best I have ever heard. It starts out with the massive advantage of enjoying the reconstructed Raphaelis organ in Roskilde Cathedral. Contemporary with the two composers being performed, it was completed in 1655, having started life a hundred years earlier. From therein it was, at various times, enlarged, but not always successfully, until in 1987 it was decided to restore it to its original shape and size, while incorporating the pipework from 1554 that still existed.
The result is not the pretty-pretty sound in which we place Baroque organs, but a weighty instrument that packs formidable weight, with snorting and bellowing pedal notes that send a tingle down your spine. I suppose it is also a function of the cathedral’s acoustic that the sound is so well defined, even when Heinrich Scheidemann
looks for an organist with four hands to create the complex interweaving of strands in which he luxuriates. Over the years I have enjoyed both composers, but I now feel short-changed by other performances, the Danish-born, Bine Bryndorf
, allowing me to hear more clearly the fascinating detail in the various strands that create the whole of the five works by Scheidemann, her playing both crisp and so rhythmically exact.
In the group of works by Nicolaus Bruhns
we have five somewhat contrasted Praeludiums, rather more straightforward in their content than Scheidemann, but all equally pleasing, and given an overview of a few works that he completed before his early death at the age of thirty-two, it was a great loss to music. In this eulogy I must now add the superb recorded sound that marries a warm church acoustic, with the detail I have already praised in Bryndorf. A fabulous disc.