This SACD from PentaTone was recorded originally in 1970, not long after he’d made his official debut as an organist. (His organ recitals are notable for being played from memory.) The performances were taken down in the then-new quadraphonic system & released on Philips LPs. But of course quadraphonic LPs were a less than ideal carrier for the 4ch sound on the tapes. Fortunately PentaTone, a company founded by ex-Philips personnel, has been reissuing quad recordings on SACDs remastered from those tapes & they sound spectacularly lifelike. They are, of course, in 4ch sound, not the 6ch that the modern SACD system is capable of.
Before releasing his first disc of Bach’s organ works, Masaaki Suzuki had recorded the composer’s complete sacred cantatas, as well as the large-scale choral works and much of the music for harpsichord. His achievements in these fields obscured the fact that Suzuki originally trained as an organist, and began working as such already at the age of twelve. So when Volume 1 of this series reached reviewers around the world, it was something of a revelation to many: the disc went on to be named Choice of the Month in BBC Music Magazine, Diapason d’Or in Diapason and Recording of the Month in Gramophone, which then went on to include it on its list of the ‘50 Greatest Bach Recordings’.
The recipient of the 2012 City of Leipzig Bach Medal, Masaaki Suzuki has earned an enviable reputation as an interpreter of the music of J. S. Bach as a reviewer in Intl Record Guide has put it: 'With Suzuki you can hear Bach's heart beat'. To a wide audience he is known as the director of Bach Collegium Japan, and the moving force behind the ensemble's acclaimed recordings of Bach's complete sacred cantatas. Perhaps less well known is that he began his career at the age of 12! playing the organ at church services in Kobe, where he was born. Suzuki has remained true to the organ throughout his life, and for BIS he has previously recorded Bach's German Organ Mass, as well as programs of Buxtehude and Sweelinck. He here appears on a disc combining some of Bach's best-loved works for the instrument, including the D minor Toccata and Fugue, the Partitas on O Gott, du frommer Gott, BWV 767, the Canonic Variations, BWV769, and the celebrated Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV548.
Remastered edition of Messiaen Complete Organ Works by Willem Tanke. Messiaen's organ works are a climax of 20th-century music, and Willem Tanke captures superbly their deep spiritual intensity, rivalling renderings by more well-known organists like Jennifer Bate and Gillian Weir. Take your time listening to the CDs: you will relish the music best if you spread the enjoyment out over a period of time. I always think of Messiaen as a composer whose pieces are threshholds into something beyond. The organ is particulary adept at opening the door. It's power and majesty and mystery as an instrument on its own does that, but Messiaen takes us to the edge of places no one else does. I have heard some of these pieces before, but hearing the entire body all together is overwhelming. It takes something which was already big and makes it bigger. These performances are more than worth your time to listen.
“The playing of Maija Lehtonen is as fine as the programme and the organ (pneumatic action, 1932) well-chosen. An ideal introduction …” (Organist’s Review)
In both volume and artistic distinction there is little doubt that Reger was the greatest German composer for the organ since Bach. He relished Lutheran chorales and employed them freely, a sense of grandeur and gravity permeating his music for the instrument. The Suite No. 1 in E minor was completed in 1895, and admired by Brahms. Its four movements offer a compendium of Reger’s genius for both complexity and transparency. His later Suite No. 2 in G minor, cast in seven taut movements, similarly employs contrast, imitation and variety whilst ending in a glorious and triumphant Fugue.