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Fanfare Magazine: 43:3 (01-02/2020) 
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Code-barres / Barcode : 7318599924212

" ecstatically recommended "

Reviewer: James A. Altena

This is Volume Three in Suzuki’s planned complete Bach organ cycle. Jerry Dubins reviewed Volume One in 39:5, while I did the honors for Volume Two in 41:1, both of us offering rave reviews. With this disc, Suzuki goes three for three in the grand-slam home run department. As the headnote above reveals, this disc features a program built around the key of C—and, as it so happens, it encompasses my two very favorite Bach organ works, BWV 537 and 582. Right from the opening notes of the BWV 531 Prelude and Fugue in C Major, the glorious tones of the 1714 Gottfried Silbermann Organ of the Freiberg Cathedral—recorded in typically superlative BIS sound—and Suzuki’s inimitable artistry in Bach are enthralling. The BWV 537 Fantasia and Fugue receives an utterly original and arresting reading like no other I’ve ever heard, its somber mien unsettled by a sense of threatening uneasiness that keeps one on the edge of one’s seat. A varied tonal palette is then brought to the three chorale preludes, BWV 717, 711, and 715, and later on in the disc to BWV 709 and 726 as well, while the BWV 770 Chorale Partita is for the most part swaddled in gentle, flute-like tone and the vox humana (the one organ stop I generally do not like, but which is employed beautifully here). The BWV 566a Toccata and BWV 546 Prelude and Fugue thunder forth with impressive might and unstoppable momentum. Fittingly, that capstone of the entire Bach organ oeuvre, the towering BWV 582 Passacaglia, provides the close here. ArkivMusic presently lists over 150 entries for this work; while I haven’t heard them all, of course, I’ve listened to a fair number, and this rendition is equaled by very few and surpassed by none for cumulative logical power and sweeping emotional grandeur. As I wrote previously, Suzuki’s cycle is shaping up as the one to challenge Ton Koopman for supremacy. Each has superlative virtues that will commend them to all Bach organ enthusiasts. On a side note, with this release BIS has moved to a slimline cardboard case, like a miniature gatefold two-LP jacket, with the CD in one side in a paper sleeve and the booklet (with notes by Albert Clement plus organ specifications) on the other side. Glowingly, ecstatically recommended.

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