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Favorite Organ Works

11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 2, 1996
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Editorial Reviews


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 2, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000029Q0
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,453 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark Dirksen on January 3, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Do these performances have anything at all to recommend them? Yes: it is interesting to hear non-autograph manual changes on a modern recording of Bach's organ works. Younger organists who know only the monochromatic everything-pleno performance practices of contemporary players may profit from studying Newman's approach to concertato interpretation.
But ye gods! the playing is out of control. Another review praises the lack of "adagio boring stuff", but there is no virtue in speed alone - in a piece such as the C major trio (BWV 529) it verges on blasphemy. It would be laughable, if it wasn't disturbing. This is music written with a higher purpose than mere virtuoso display, so the shockingly fast tempi are all about Newman, not about Bach.
I will admit that the Passacaglia comes off best (even at this pace) and I do appreciate his over-the-top cadenza with the following grand rallentando: too many performances never really "bring it all home." But please don't look to this as your only recording of these masterpieces. There is far more depth and delight in this music than Newman's flashy approach can ever reveal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William Jergensen on July 31, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I am an organist. I have listened to the masters: Virgil Fox, Michael Murray, E. Power Biggs, etc. While I DO admit that the works are some what fast; it shows the INCREDIBLE talent of the organist. The Gigue Fugue and the Fugue in A minor and C minor are examples of almost music that incourages "self abuse!!" To have the talent to play the music at the speed he does with his feet FASTER than most people can play with both hands is impressive. Why not just appreciate the RAW talent of the man and forget about nit-picking the speed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By classical newb on January 14, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Just like the other reviewers said, Newman is simply too fast. I also own his Goldberg Variations, which it turned out pretty good and unique, but not this CD. In my personal taste, most organ players, I have heard suffers for being slightly slower than I would have liked, but in the case of Newman, it seems that he is just testing himself to see how fast he can play. Now, if Newman makes another CD with the speed between this CD and what is considered to be the average speed, then I would gladly pay 10$ for such CD; for example, Toccata and Fugue in D minor he plays in 7:10. The "average" speed would be around 8:40 for that piece, and if he played "a bit slower" (say, at 8 minutes) then at that point the music could be enjoyable. But at this speed, Bach masterpieces are simply ruined.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ashok Karra on February 6, 2007
Format: Audio CD
...his playing is way too fast in places. He just flies through phrases that E. Power Biggs would linger over and let develop.

However, I think his rendition of the Passacaglia actually benefits from the speed, and BWV 543 isn't shabby at all in his interpretation.

Look, the product is $5. It's not a bad deal at all. One thing is that the recordings will not put you to sleep; he does achieve a melodic line, it isn't all bluster and loudness and speed. There are musicians who, sad to say, can't figure out how to keep the melody going at all. Newman has no such problem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leon Z on June 29, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Passacaglia alone is worth owning this album. Other interpretations are too slow - so slow that you don't even notice the climax. Sure slower pace might satisfy the trained ears who want to hear the flows and harmonics in every stanza, but remember Bach is a dramatic composer and he writes music because music is emotional and pleasant. The only way to tie the whole piece together is to maintain the thread of melody by playing the progressions faster. Bach played this piece in a competition to showcase not only his intellect but also his organist virtuosity and his ability to captivate the audience. I believe Newman got it right.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David J. Trainer on February 7, 2007
Format: Audio CD
OK - so scholarly research indicates that Bach was a user of ornaments. However, Mr. Newman's added ornaments and twiddly bits simply vex me to death.

His interpretations are shallow, his tempi are so fast as to blur the line (in my humble opinion) and his choice of registration unimaginative. It's one CD I won't be listening to again ... might even give it away.
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