Bach: Orgelbüchlein / Christopher Herrick
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Like most of Bach's greatest keyboard works, the Little Organ Book was designed for teaching through example. It contains 45 tiny chorale preludes, all designed according to the same principle. There are three genuine parts. One line has the hymn tune, which serves as the basis of the prelude, and the other two execute independent figures, which provide a musical analogue to the meaning of the most important lines of the text. Most of them aren't much more than a minute long, but each is simply exquisite. Christopher Herrick plays the complete set with consummate taste, and excellently chosen registrations that keep the polyphony crystal clear. --David Hurwitz
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Christopher Herrick plays the whole set, according to a liturgical framework, with marvellous clarity. His chosen instrument, though small, is perfect for the music, which is even further heightened by his choice of registration and his sensitive touch.
The booklet describes the collection as "bewilderingly rich," and 70 minutes of it may seem too much to handle in one hearing, as each one is over almost as soon as it has begun: listening to this disc completely from beginning to end is rather like drinking a large glass of water by taking tiny sips at a time. I find it far better to play chorales in shorter sequences (one such sequence is suggested by the producers, enabling you to listen to the chorales as ordered in Bach's manuscript). Also, that there are forty-five tracks does make for a disadvantage if you are trying to select a particular chorale around the middle of the disc!
Still, this is one of Hyperion's treasures- without any doubt. Beautifully presented, good for casual listeners, even better perhaps for students.