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Johann Sebastian Bach Orgel-Buchlein BWV 599-644.

Johann Sebastian Bach Orgel-Buchlein BWV 599-644

Jaroslav Tuma -- organ.

Production: Vitezslav Janda, Jaroslav Tuma.

Text: Cz., Eng., Ger.

Recorded: 4/2004, Church of St. Peter, Bruchsal. Released: 2007. TT: 84:08. AAD. 1 CD ARTA F10156 (distribution 2HP Production).

Jaroslav Tuma [see CM 1/07] is tireless in his production of all kinds of recordings. This new recording is part of his series of Bach titles--the last was a double version of the Goldberg Variations played on both harpsichord and clavichord. Tuma performed the complete Bach works for organ in the years 1990-93, and part of this project has been recorded and released by Suraphon. His new move to Arta is evident just in the external design of the disc, which is clean and modern but also dignified. The album, consisting of Bach's Orgel-Buchlein or little organ book, seems to me to be conceived as a "story" on several different levels. The biblical narrative, starting with Advent and ending with Whitsun, with stops at Christmas, the New Year, Epiphany and Easter, interacts with the purely musical techniques of contrast, colour, dynamics and gradation. All the way through, however, thought is given to the text of the different chorales. Maybe this was not the intention, but Tuma's project can be read in this way too. And the fact that the performer has succeeded, and that the whole thing holds together, is remarkable given that it consists of scarcely two-minute "crumbs"--a whole forty-five fitted into the album With any organist the first consideration is the instrument itself. The thirty registers of the organ built by Vladimir Slajch (2004) in Bruchsal in Germany, offers enough combinations to be just sufficient in registration. The registers combine perfectly and at the same time the individual parts can be clearly distinguished. Which is essential in Bach's sophisticated polyphony, for example in Hilf Gott, dass mir's gelinge. And so we do not miss the charming figuration of the chorale Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich, or the "descent and entrance of the angel" vividly depicted in music by scales in Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar. The acoustics of the classicist church are crystal clear even with a long echo. The recording (sound masters Ales Dvorak, Tomas Zikmund) produces the illusion that we are standing in the place where all the sounds meet and merge. We should add that the disposition of the organ and registration used are noted in the booklet.


The first group of chorales draws us into an atmosphere of dream, the suppressed expectation of advent. The tones of the soft registers float somewhere above by the vault. The Easter mystery (Christ lag in Todesbanden) is also evoked very effectively. Through the organist the instrument practically speaks, summoning up entirely concrete feelings in the listener: there is triumph here, contrition, innocence, humility, plea, quiet joy, exultant joy. It is obvious that Tuma has become perfectly at one with Slajch's organ--and with Bach's "Little Book".
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Author:Hradecka, Dita Kopacova
Publication:Czech Music
Date:Jul 1, 2007
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