Buxtehude’s organ music is not only a fascinating precursor of his great admirer J.S. Bach but a body of work full of energy and beauty in its own right, a pinnacle of the early-Baroque Protestant aesthetic. Strict and florid counterpoint, lying at the centre of Bach’s style, is less important here; rather we can hear vibrant and directly illustrative responses to the texts which lie behind the chorales and instrumental versions of canticles such as the Magnificat and Te Deum. The toccatas and fugues are generally shorter and punchier than the mature Bach’s examples, and overall solemnity is generally eschewed in favour of exuberant virtuosity.
These characteristics fit well the mastery of Simone Stella, whose 3CD set of Buxtehude’s harpsichord music has already proved him a doughty advocate of the composer. As BBC Music Magazine remarked, “here we have an Italian eager to touch base with his inner Teuton, as Stella sets well-ordered lucidity above unfettered flamboyance. Indeed, he sometimes misses the edgy danger Koopman brings to Buxtehude's boldest strokes, but he's an unfailingly intelligent and revealing guide to a body of work that cries out to be better known.” The same is gratifyingly true of the new set, recorded on a bright and authentically tuned modern Italian instrument which nonetheless can aspire to the colours of the Danish organs on which Buxtehude plied his trade.
There are only two other modern recordings available of the complete organ music, and both are full-price.
- Recorded in 2011.
- The music of Dietrich Buxtehude has gained increased recognition and popularity over the last few years, not in the least due to the invaluable work of pioneers like Ton Koopman (Complete Buxtehude Edition) and others. The great Johann Sebastian Bach valued his music highly, and considered him one of the most important composers before him (and from whom he learned the most!).
- After his successful issue of Buxtehude’s Complete Harpsichord Works ( BC 94312), “Thoroughly imaginative and engaging” (Fanfare), “Uberzeugend und überraschend” (Klassik.com), Italian Simone Stella plays these works on historical organs in Italy.
Includes extensive booklet notes, written by Simone Stella, elucidating the historical context to this music.