The Organ


Calvin Bowman at the Ahrend Organ of Monash University, Melbourne

All the composers on this CD had some form of association with JS Bach: they studied, worked with, or were related to the grand old man of organ counterpoint. The disc begins with J.L. Krebs' Fuga on BACH, a solid working of the fugal subject that the great teacher would no doubt have marked highly, though it does not have JSB's genius. Then come two chorale settings by Oley, another Bach pupil. The influence of the Little Organ Book can be detected here. Gerber, the composer of four inventions on this disc apparently listened to Bach play the entire 48 through at one setting on now fewer than three occasions. His own pieces are not without merit, and have a clear basis in the master's trio sonatas. They deserve to be better known, and will certainly stretch the player's technique.

JCF Bach's 18 variations on Morgen kommt der Weinachtsmann - better known to English ears as Twinkle, twinkle, little star - is both clever and amusing, and provides ample opportunity for the recitalist to demonstrate both ability and instrument. The collection is completed by a chorale prelude by Kellner, one by JSB and then his Canonic Variations on Von Himmel Hoch and the Fantasia in G.

The playing is superb throughout. The organ is at its best in the softer registers; at times I found the pleno too aggressive, though it is clearly reminiscent of Silbermann and deserves to have been recorded. Highly recommended.