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Penguin Guide, January 2009

Those wanting a larger, more fully representative collection of Sweelinck’s organ music can turn to Naxos, who do not usually let us down with their one-disc surveys. Certainly the Wellesley College organ sounds right, James David Christie is a persuasive exponent, and his pacing is convincing. The two Toccatas are the most commanding pieces here the C major quite virtuosic. Sweelinck’s chorale variations repeat the cantus firmus clearly with embellishments of increasing complexity. The secular variations are simpler. Those based on a Dutch song are derived from an English ballad, All in a garden green, and the jolly Malle Sijmen (‘Simple Simon’) is based on an old English-dance-tune, and is piquantly registered. Poolsche dans (‘Polish dance’) is much more elaborate. I is in the middle section of the Echo Fantasia that the cuckoo-like echoes finally appear and the piece concludes like a toccata. Excellent recording.


"with appealing registrations, an almost ideal choice of programme, good notes and undistractingly natural recording, Naxos have produced a single-CD anthology of this most companionable of organ composer that merits general recommendation"

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