Although Buxtehude composed a significant amount of vocal music and a small amount of chamber music, his reputation as a composer really lies in his compositional output for the organ. Indeed, he was the greatest precursor to J.S. Bach as a composer for organ, and had a significant influence on the following generation notably J.S. Bach himself.
Aside from the appropriate year of release – 2007 marks the tercentenary of Buxtehude’s death – this CD is a well-chosen and varied collection of some of Buxtehude’s finest organ works. There is representation of some of his larger scale Praeludiae, which are composed in the stylus phantasticus – a form that incorporates toccata-like sections, virtuoso passage-work and fugues; and also smaller chorale-based works which tend towards the devotional and prayerful. The majesty of the fine organ at the King’s Chapel, Aberdeen can be heard in these large-scale works, none more so than in the opening and concluding tracks, but it is a pity that the wonderfully named Buzene pedal reed (a type of trombone stop) is absent at the end of the Praeludium in F sharp minor, BuxWV146. The Magnificat primi toni,BuxWV203, showcases the instrument’s range of reed stops, while the dialogue between the different werk of the organ in Non lob, mein Seel’ den Herren, BuxWV212 highlights the versatility of the instrument, not to mention Hamilton’s thoughtful registrations. A highlight for me is the Fuga in C major, BuxWV174 , a perky fugue which simply utilises a delightful 4ft flute.
David Hamilton is clearly something of a specialist in this genre, his meticulous playing and well-researched sleeve notes being obvious indications of this. The extremely informative and detailed sleeve notes written by the performer add considerable interest to those concerned with the more technical and academic analysis of the construction of the works.
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