ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
Dietrich Buxtehude - Organ Works - Masaaki Suzuki


DIETERICH BUXTEHUDE - Organ Works - Masaaki Suzuki (Organ) - Hybrid SACD -
BIS SACD1809


Organ music is a tough nut to crack for many people. They find it too pedantic, too slow, too boring. I know, I have quite a large carefully groomed collection of the stuff. I can always find something that turns their cranks. Something they like.

So what about a jaded guy who has what Three sets of Buxtehude's organ works. I have owned another 4 sets and listened to at least that many more. I should print T-shirts. Been there done that.

Especially in Dietrich Buxtehude's organ works there is great need to create distinct voices where one musical idea is unleashed and then a rebuttal or returned idea is bounced back and forth. A conversation begins that should start with the performers left hand. Next his right hand should have a thing or two to say. After listening and thinking a bit his two feet get a word or two in. If the conversation is of interest you listen. If not we all quickly turn to something that does interest us. This form of playing can be likened to a small consort of instruments that can blend to create a harmonious effect or sound off one another as individuals to a part. To accomplish this on an instrument such as an organ takes a great deal of insight as to what does what, in terms of sounds from each stop, how they sound in singular and in unison settings. It's the art of registration. I rave about it when it is done well. I don't mean Masaaki Suzuki is hitting the right keys at the right time. I mean there's music in them there tracks. There is an enormous difference between playing notes from a score and turning it into music.

Well how does it sound? Like it should to be blunt. Better I have not listened to. It keeps me interested. The playing is insightful. Masaaki Suzuki is in a league with maybe two or three other people who can evoke such great music from the organ. I recently reviewed Christopher Herrick's second Buxtehude recording. This is equal if not better. The recording gives depth perspective as well as left right perspective. No big deal you think? Try finding me another recording that can pull that off on the Pipe Organ. You might look at the Organs specifications and shrug that there's no great big reed stops to thump and thunder. I hate to say it but there's more to organ music than sound effects. The sizes and types of instruments are chosen with utmost taste. And yes things do rumble if your patient. I know we all listen for the odd bass wave washing over us. It's there! I just revel in the brilliant bouquet of sounds these old instruments are capable of producing.

Well get ye down to the CD store and get yourself this CD. If you only want one CD of organ music by Buxtehude, this is it! It's that good. It has everything of what so many other recordings are trying to do. This one does it all. I have to borrow a few more thumbs. You have my two thumbs up and maybe two from Jean the editor!

Mark Kravchenko