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Fernando Germani (Organ)

Germani Plays Bach


1

Fernando Germani Plays Bach

J.S. Bach:
Prelude and Fugue for organ in G major, BWV 541
Prelude and Fugue for organ in E minor ("Wedge"), BWV 548
Chorale prelude for organ ("Herzlich tut mich verlangen"), BWV 727
Prelude and Fugue for organ in B minor, BWV 544
Chorale prelude for organ ("Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier"), BWV 731
Prelude and Fugue for organ in A minor, BWV 543
Chorale fugue for organ ("Meine Seele erhebet den Herren"), ("Fugue on the Magnificat"), BWV 733
Prelude and Fugue for organ in C major, BWV 547

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck:
Mein junges Leben hat ein End, variations for keyboard

John Bull:
Laet ons met herten reijne, for organ
Fantasia for keyboard (on Sweelinck)

Fernando Germani (Organ)

Testament

1957-1958

CD / TT: 79:04

Neil Halliday wrote (May 24, 2004):
This Testament CD containing music recorded in 1959 and 1960, on the organ in the Laurenskerk, Altmaar, displays Germani's wonderful ability to always clearly articulate the musical lines, regardless of the structure of the music, or the power of the registration.

He knows (or knew - he died in 1998, aged 92) how to find the correct registration from the stops that the instrument has to offer; and the imagination and artistry shown in the variation of registration within a piece is exemplary, making nonsense of any claim that the correct way to play Bach is to use the same registration all the way
through a given piece.

His registration of the chorale prelude 'Herzlich tut mich verlangen' BWV 727 is delightful (with not a horrible tremolo stop to be heard anywhere).

This CD is the antidote I needed after the disappointment of large sections of Rubsam's traversal of Bach, in which rushed tempos and consequent lack of clarity in the grander pieces, and indistinct lines with indecipherable pedal pitch in the 45 Chorales from the 'Little Organ Book', were all too common.

Included are the 'Great' preludes and fugues BWV 541, 543, 544, 547 and 548.

This instrument is not as powerful as some I have heard (eg, the Royal Festival Hall organ, London) and is in fact described in the booklet as the "small" organ in the church, but nevertheless Germani works up some exciting climaxes.

This is a recording that Mats might not have to 'fiddle' with; the clarity of the sound, its variety, and the illusion of actually being in the church (despite the mono recording) are creditable.


Feedback to the above Review

Charlie Ervin McCarn
wrote (May 31, 2004):
Neil Halliday wrote: < This instrument is not as powerful as some I have heard (eg, the Royal Festival Hall organ, London) and is in fact described in the booklet as the "small" organ in the church, but nevertheless Germani works up some exciting climaxes. >
I am glad to see that somebody else likes Germani's Bach the way that I do.

There are two historic organs in the Laurenskerk in Almaar.

Germani recorded on both of them, but I thought that all of the Bach recordings that he made there were made on the "large" organ, an amalgam of pipework by Hagerbeer and Duytschot (17th century) and Frans Caspar Schnitger (1720s), sensitively restored by Flentrop in the early 1950s. This is the same organ that Helmut Walcha used for many of his stereo recordings of the Bach organ works.

There is a "small" organ in the church, an organ that dates from the early 16th century. Germani made some recordings on that organ, too, but I thought that he only recorded Renaissance and early Baroque pieces on it.

It's interesting that you should mention the organ in the Royal Festival Hall. Is that because Germani recorded some Bach there, too?

Let's hope that Testament decides to reissue the recordings that Germani made of the six Trio Sonatas.

Neil Halliday wrote (June 1, 2004):
Charlie asks: "It's interesting that you should mention the organ in the Royal Festival Hall. Is that because Germani recorded some Bach there, too?"
Yes, one of the first recordings I ever had of Bach's organ music consisted of several pieces Germani played for the inauguration celebrations of that organ, in 1957. Unfortunately, I don't have that LP now, but I remember it had the most magnificent performances of the Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major, and the 'Great" Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, that I have ever heard.

I did a google search of "Germani AND London Festival Hall" and after a long search came up with a Japanese site that appears to have a 2 - CD set of this performer and instrument available (but I was unable to navigate the site...)

Someone in England actually has the original LP for sale, but that's a risky proposition as far as sound quality is concerned, ie, how much scratching is there on the used LP (the engineering of the LP was excellent, as I recall).

An interesting snippet of information I found, in one of the google headings, was something about recording studios avoiding making recordings in the RFH, but I could not find any further information about this in the article.

You are quite correct, I misread the small print - the Bach pieces (on this Testament CD) are on the "large' Laurenskerk organ; the 'small' organ is reserved for pre-Bach pieces by Sweelink and Bull.

Nevertheless, the RFH organ is undoubtably much larger than either of the Laurenskerk organs.

Mats Winther wrote (June 2, 2004):
Neil Halliday wrote: < [...] Someone in England actually has the original LP for sale, but that's a risky proposition as far as sound quality is concerned, ie, how much scratching is there on the used LP (the engineering of the LP was excellent, as I recall). [...] >
I have ordered a few LP:s from abroad and cleaned them from scratches and clatter and burnt them on to CD. It works just fine. The result is just as good as CD:s you buy.


Fenando Germani: Fernando Germani Performs Bach, Sweelinck and Bull [Satz] | Germani Play Bach [Halliday]


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