Melba Recordings

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J.S. Bach Organ Sonatas

17/12/2009
National Business Review (NZ)
John Daly-Peoples

A number of classical recordings have been coming out of Australia in the last few years, taking Australian music and performers into the international classical music world including some impressive recordings from the Melba Foundation...

Three recent recordings; J.S. Bach Organ Sonatas, BWV525 – 530, The Galant Bassoon and Sublime Mozart: Works for Clarinet show the high level of talent and recording expertise that is the hallmark of the foundation's releases...

Christopher Wrench plays the Bach's Organ Sonatas on the Garnisons Kirche organ in Copenhagen that was built in 1995 by Carsen Lund, based on a 1724 design by Lambert Daniel Kastens.

Wrench displays a virtuosic approach which makes the playing of the organ seem particularly easy and there is an almost contemporary approach which may well be close to how Bach might have chosen to play. He takes liberties with the ornamentation, creates tension between the slow and fast passages as well as the quiet and dramatic parts of the work.

At times he manages to give the music a sense of dramatic narrative, and we can sense the player (or Bach) excitedly exploring new territories of sound and emotion to give meaning to a particular religious or personal idea.

The organ’s tones are particularly fresh and vital sounding like solo wind instruments in many of the passages and at times like the human voice. This capacity to create an impressive range of tones and textures contributes to several of the pieces having a strong emotional quality.

The quality of the recording gives the sound of the organ an immediacy and purity which is probably due to the new approach to sound mixing which has been used.