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Penguin Guide, January 2009

BACH, J.S.: Orgelbüchlein (Das), Vol. 1 8.553031
BACH, J.S.: Orgelbüchlein (Das), Vol. 2 8.553032

Rübsam finds great variety for his presentation of each chorale. The Christmas section is preceded by the flamboyant and joyous Prelude and Fugue in C, with its resounding pedals, and the first recital is rounded off with a characteristically spacious account of the imposing F minor Prelude and Fugue, BWV 534. The Easter Chorales are more robust, while the four Pentecost Chorales are touchingly contemplative. There is infinite variety of mood and colour in the last group, opening with a piece of symbolizing the ten commandments and showing Bach reflecting on various aspects of the Christian faith. The introduction of the closing Prelude and Fugue in D minor, BWV 539, is grave and dignified, but the fugue itself is optimistic and vital, ending the concert satisfyingly. The Duke University Chapel organ is a magnificent instrument, and the recording is superb throughout.

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