The Organ

Hugh Banton plays Bach's Goldberg variations

The Organ Workshop

It is perhaps rather adventurous for someone to record this work, one of Bach's most cerebral, on a digital instrument and I am not sure if it entirely works. Recorded in Mr Banton's research studio (as well as on a barge on various canals!) the sound is quite dead lacking in any sort of acoustic. The instrument used, built at The Organ Workshop by Mr Banton himself, has 46 stops over 3 manuals (although the notes say 2) and as usual with this type of imitation, the softer stops work best (including some pleasantly chiffy flutes), although the louder reeds sound so artificial they are almost painful.

As far as performance goes, Mr Banton plays the work quite idiomatically, varying the registration intelligently although I still feel that this piece belongs on the harpsichord. His manual dexterity is superb, the fast running passages in, for example, variation 29 "Toccata", are very well under control. If you want to hear the sounds of the most up to date of imitation organs, then this CD will convince you either way of their worth. DW