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Gerhard Weinberger (Organ)

Bach Organ Works from Weinberger, Volume 5

R-5

Bach: Organ Works Vol. 5

Prelude & Fugue in G minor, BWV 535 [7:17]
Prelude & Fugue in A minor ("The Great"), BWV 543 [9:19]
Prelude & Fugue in G major, BWV 550 [7:02]
Trio in D minor, BWV 583 [5:55]
Pastorale in F major, BWV 590 [12:38]
Chorale Prelude Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (VIII), BWV 715 [2:45]
Fugal Fantasia (Fuga super) Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, BWV 716 [2:14]
Chorale Prelude Allein Gott in der Hoh' sei Ehr', BWV 717 [3:28]
Chorale Prelude Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ (III), BWV 722 [1:42]
Chorale Prelude Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ (IV), BWV 723 [2:32]
Chorale Prelude Gott, durch deine Güte (Gottes Sohn ist kommen), BWV 724 [1:34]
Chorale Prelude In dulci jubilo (II), BWV 729 [2:35]
Chorale Prelude Nun freut euch, lieben Christen, BWV 734 [2:25]
Chorale Prelude Wie schön leuchtet uns der Morgenstern (I), BWV 739 [5:19]

Gerhard Weinberger (Organ) [Joachim Wagner, 1742-1744]

CPO

Sep 1996

CD / TT: 67:22

Recorded at St. Marien Church, Angermünde, Germany.
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

Donald Satz wrote (April 7, 2002):
This is the 5th volume from Gerhard Weinberger of his traversal of the complete Bach organ works on CPO. In my reviews of the previous four volumes, Weinberger's demonstrative and relatively severe approach to Bach's music has often been illuminating. However, there have been times when he overdoes the severity at the expense of lyricism. Also, there have been a few Bach works which would easily handle Weinberger's severity, but he abandons this approach and goes soft; this switch usually has had negative results. From an overall view, I consider Weinberger's series through the 4th volume to be a highly worthy addition to Bach's organ discography; his performances of Bach's Orgelbuchlein are particularly outstanding.

Most of the program for the 5th volume consists of early Bach works, particularly the Preludes & Fugues BWV 535 & BWV 550. Weinberger is exceptional in every work excepting for the chorale setting BWV 729 where his soft and thin registrations are somewhat ineffectual.

Weinberger's severity remains at a high level, but he never skimps on Bach's poetry. There are three additional aspects of his performances which make volume 5 an essential acquisition. First, Weinberger often uses registrations which enhance the music's brash qualities; this works to perfection in BWV 535 & BWV 550 which are the best performances on record. Second, although Weinberger's tempos are defintely on the slow side, the intervals are not wide as he stretches the notes and provides a 'reaching for the higher plateau' element that is irresistable in many of the programmed works. Third, Weinberger's registrations are often delectable as in the Trio in D minor which is another 'best' on record.

The Joachim Wagner Organ's resources are used beautifully by Weinberger, and the recorded sound is exemplary. Add in the commanding performances from Weinberger, and we have one of the best volumes so far in the series.

I won't go into my journey through the disc except to report my initial efforts. I started by listening to my favorite versions of BWV 535 from Andrea Marcon on Hänssler and Christopher Herrick on Hyperion. Unfortunately, neither one was particularly enjoyable. I assumed that I just wasn't in the mood for organ music, but I did put on Weinberger's BWV 535 in order to make some progress in the review process. Weinberger's version astounded me; the brashness, stretching, and severity combination totally won my affection. Thoroughly smitten, I continued listening straight-through to the entire disc and was consistently subjected to incisive and illuminating performances (except for BWV 729). I then took out my favorite recordings of all the works on the disc to insure that Weinberger did stand up to their quality; the results were most favorable for Weinberger.

Don's Conclusions: After a rocky start in Volume 1, Gerhard Weinberger's Bach organ cycle is evolving into one of the most rewarding I know. I should emphasize that quite a few reviewers have been less than complimentary with their remarks on each volume. The general complaint revolves around Weinberger's severity and the feeling that his performances are not sufficiently uplifting and actually on the somber side. Obviously, my reactions have been far different, and I find the negative remarks quite alien and impossible to explain other than the usual comment that different tastes lead to different conclusions.

If you have any interest in trying Weinberger out, I suggest starting with either Volume 3 (Orgelbüchlein) or Volume 5. I think each is an outstanding Bach organ recording and well worth your investigation. Another plus is that CPO has been issuing each volume at much less than premium price.

 

Gerhard Weinberger: Short Biography | Recordings of Non-Vocal & Vocal Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Bach Organ Works from Weinberger, Vol. 1 | Bach Organ Works from Weinberger, Vol. 2 | Bach Organ Works from Weinberger, Vol. 3 | Bach Organ Works from Weinberger, Vol. 4 | Bach Organ Works from Weinberger, Vol. 5 | Bach Organ Works from Weinberger, Vol. 6 | Gerhard Weinberger's Bach Organ Series, Vol. 15

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Last update: żOctober 2, 2007 ż10:12:48