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CD Review

Johann Sebastian Bach

The Toccatas and Fantasias

  • Fantasia and fugue in C minor, BWV 537
  • Toccata and fugue in D minor 'Dorian', BWV 538
  • Toccata and fugue in F Major, BWV 540
  • Fantasia and fugue in G minor, BWV 542
  • Toccata, adagio and fugue in C Major, BWV 564
  • Toccata and fugue in D minor, BWV 565
  • Toccata in E Major, BWV 566
  • Fantasia in G Major (Pièce d'orgue), BWV 572
  • Toccata in F Sharp minor BWV 910
  • Toccata in C minor, BWV 911
  • Toccata in D Major, BWV 912
  • Toccata in D minor, BWV 913
  • Toccata in E minor, BWV 914
  • Toccata in G minor, BWV 915
  • Toccata in G Major, BWV 916
Kevin Bowyer, organ
Nimbus Records NI7077/8 2 discs 159m DDD

This is a reissue of the major works from Kevin Bowyer's monumental 17 volume Bach cycle for Nimbus. It is a miracle that this unfinished project was finally brought to completion a few months ago and although it has occasionally received some quirky, press, there's no denying the magnificence and excitement behind Bowyer's towering interpretations.

Another Bach organ cycle that is coming my way of late is that of Hans Helmut Tillman's renderings for Danacord, but that has left me slightly under impressed in places. So it was indeed refreshing to return to Bowyer's no nonsense readings especially the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor, the expansive, Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major, BWV 564 and the equally impressive Toccata in D Major, BWV 912.

The sound of the Marcussen Organ in Odense is admirably suited to these works which come alive in the manner of Hurford or Walcha but with much more charm and brilliance. Those who have studiously collected Bowyer's recordings over the years will not want this double CD set but newcomers are urged to acquire the set as an ideal introduction to that unique sound world that is Bach's organ music.

Copyright © 2006, Gerald Fenech