Date of purchase: October 2017.
First listen: 21-11-2017.
Digipack: 2 CD'S.
Recording dates: May 2003.
Venue: Lüdingsworth, St. Jacobi, Germany.
Sound engineer: Christoph Martin Frommen.
Time: 79:57& 72:33.
Works on both CD'S:
Tabulatur Buch Darinnen Daß Vatter unser auff 2.3 und vier Stimmen.
Componirt und viertzig mal Varirt würd. (1626-27)
A Antonius Wilde/Arp Schnitger organ (1598-1683)
Restored by Jürgen Ahrend (1981-82)
A= 460 Hz.
Let me say one thing first...this is a fabulous organ, plus it is perfectly recorded by the organ coryfee Christoph Martin Frommen. Berben makes a feast of the performance in every respect. He treats the organ in just the right way to get a maximum of effect culminating into balm for your ears. The forty variations on this first disc made a huge impression on me, especially the first variation and the last one one. The first was a Fantasia oder Fugen manier 4. Vocum, and the 40th a Variation auff Toccata manier, 4. It shows what this composer was capable of. Sweelinck came to mind several times. The sheer variation in the music blew me away several times, due also to the organ disposition and the sound. Berben plays in a very restrained manner, always focusing on the music and the right amount of dynamics, and never on himself. This sensitive manner appeals hugely to me. The second disc that holds the Ricercar Tabulatura from 1624, brought Frescobaldi and Scheidt into my mind quite forcefully. The somewhat sober style used in these compositions felt like bare bones utterances of a time long gone. But it is exactly this aspect that I like. There is little warmth or colour in the ricercari, but I loved the subtle changes in the use of registrations and the spare use of ornamenting the music. Phrasing is delightful and at times it has a quasi improvisatory air. I feel like being thrusted into another and different world on the second disc. In the end I am utterly pleased with the result.
The sound is almost State of the Art.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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