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Dacapo - The National Music Anthology of Denmark

Format:  CD

Catalogue Number:  8.226008

Barcode:  636943600825

Release month:  Apr 2004

Period:  Baroque


Dietrich Buxtehude: Organ Works Vol. 2

15 April 2004  Classics Today (10/10)
David Vernier


This is proving to be a very fine series, devoted to the complete organ works of Dietrich Buxtehude (type Q7355 in Search Reviews for my comments on Volume 1 and on the organ at St. Mary's Church, Elsinore). In contrast to her interpretive approach in her first volume, organist Bine Bryndorf here opts for registrations that celebrate the instrument's brighter, more mellifluous qualities, which naturally brings greater clarity of individual lines (no muddiness this time!) and a more satisfying bottom-to-top presence and power (where required). And among these nine chorale settings and five Praeludia we are reminded of (or enlightened by) some of the more astonishingly original aspects of Buxtehude's style. Particularly in the works that bear the title of "Praeludium", we hear fantastic freestyle opening flourishes followed by fugues that may just suddenly halt before cranking up in another burst of unfinished thought that often leads in an unexpected direction--but one that ends satisfyingly home. Many of the chorales begin with a perfectly defined melodic line--here sensitively highlighted by Bryndorf with careful stop selection--and then go off in an expanded, more elaborate commentary on the tune. The program begins and ends with a Praeludium in E minor (BuxWV 152 and BuxWV 142), both of which show Buxtehude at his most imaginative and delightfully extravagant, especially the latter work, which is more than eight minutes of rousing, roof-raising fun.

The 17th-century term given to this sort of "free and unrestrained method of composing" was stylus phantasticus, but a couple of centuries later it certainly would have been referred to as simply psychedelic--or perhaps "stylus psychedelicus"? Whatever it's called, it's a pleasure to hear, and Bryndorf shows herself to be the perfect advocate for and interpreter of these all-too-rarely-heard pieces. The sound is vibrant, full-bodied, and dynamically wide yet preserves a realistic sense of the church's interior space--just what we expect from an organ recording. Dacapo not only provides excellent notes and organ specifications but even lists details of Bryndorf's actual registrations for each piece. Wonderful!

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