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Mark Sealey
Classical Net, September 2013

The music of Heinrich Scheidemann…really is music which deserves to be better known. And this series of wonderful recordings of his keyboard compositions by Julia Brown on Naxos…is helping.

Scheidemann’s music occupies a place where the genteel meets the restrainedly passionate. Brown has the measure of the balance that’s needed to convey both animation and control. Her tempi are consistent; they use that regularity…appropriately to emphasize the gravitas that is integral to the composer’s music. It has qualities of the regal and the stately.

At the same time, Brown puts the humanity and warmth of Scheidemann’s music to the fore. The intimacy of ornamented details, repeated phrases…and melodic and tonal/harmonic reflections on previous and future material and passages make the music approachable.

The major work is the Magnificat in 8 Tones…Brown plays it with complete understanding and appreciation of the architecture and need for it to unfold in its own time, making its musical impact gently, without rush; yet without impediment. The same goes for the single longest piece on the CD, Herr Christ, der einig Gotts Sohn for organ…which is as devotionally rich as it is melodically varied. At the same time, Brown plays the music as music: for all the passion of Victimae paschali laudes…and the pair of plaintive yet rejoicing dual Verses, Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit and Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hällt…the music is substantial enough and sufficiently well-crafted to stand independently.

If you’ve been collecting this excellent series, you’ll not want to hesitate. If the richness of Baroque organ music of the North German school is new or appealing, this is a good place to start. Recommended. © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2013

Nine years have elapsed since Julia Brown’s previous volume of Scheidemann’s complete organ music and, with one volume remaining, returns to his early works. It has been a labour of love to bring to the disc catalogue the forgotten name of Heinrich Scheidemann, his place in history having largely resided in adding a fourth manual to his Hamburg instrument so as to add to the range of colours available. Born around 1595, and schooled to replace his father as organist of Catherinenkirch in Hamburg, his student days were spent firstly with his father, then in Amsterdam as a pupil of the great organist, Sweelinck. The Dutch organist’s influence you will hear in the music of this sixth volume, which has to be described as ‘shavings from the mastercarpenter’s bench’. There is just three extended works: the Magnificat; Benedicam Domino and Herr Christ, der einig Gotts Sohn, with the remaining tracks lasting just a few minutes. It is unclear whether they were all intended for organ, though it is more than likely they were played on the clavichord or harpsichord. That would have surely been the case with the charming Ballett and the Allemande, my own favourite being the the short Fantasia in C major. Maybe it is directed at a specialist part of organ aficionados, but we are indebted to Brown who has throughout ‘mixed and matched’ the contents of each disc to make enjoyable programmes. Here she plays the organ built in 2004 by John Brombaugh for the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Illinois. An expert in recreating period instruments, this one having most of the 17th century sounds without the ‘wheeziness’ you have to accept in the originals. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

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