John Barnett

Bach: Orgelbüchlein BWV 599-644 – Organ CD review

4:39, 28th April 2020

J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein BWV 599-644
Stephen Farr, organ by Tobias Heinrich Gottfried Trost (1730), Stadtkirche, Waltershausen, Thuringia
Resonus RES 10259 [79:02]

Full marks to Stephen Farr for recording the Orgelbüchlein on the largest baroque organ in Thuringia, therefore supporting its authenticity as a Bach organ. Farr uses the large array of 8ft stops to colourful effect, reserving the impressive plenum for such pieces as Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn. Eighteenth-century organs are challenging to play, with noisy actions, un-ergonomic pedalboards, etc., but Farr’s tempi sound natural, with expressive nuances well-moulded into the overall metrical structure. The modified meantone temperament makes perfect sense of the harmonies in O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde gross and other pieces that exploit chromaticism for expressive purposes.


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