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Bach Art of Fugue & Organ Trio Sonatas

Calefax Reed Quintet
Oliver Boekhoorn oboe
Ivar Berix clarinet
Raaf Hekkema saxophone
Jelte Althuis bass clarinet
Alban Wesly bassoon

MDG 619 0989-2 [2000]

Always problematic in performance choices and often disappointing in concert, Calefax may be thought by many to have the best solution for Der Kunst der Fuge.

Their Goldberg Variations is triumphantly successful in concert but has not yet been recorded in its entirety.

In their earlier years they spent many years gradually building up their version of Der Kunst der Fuge, a project that gave a solid basis for their subsequent wide ranging explorations, which are being brought to London regularly.

The variety of instruments, which never seek period authenticity, ensures clarity of the contrapuntal lines at all times and prevents aural fatigue. Theirs is in my possibly heretical view an essential addition to everyone's Bach collections, and should be considered even by HIP devotees who might jib at the use of modern instruments - even saxophones!! This is vindicated by the results and justified by JSB's avoidance of instrumental specifications in hs score.

The cover image, Contrapuctus XIV by Pascal Moehlmann, "a corpulent human beng without a wig" backed by fourteen golden stripes, is uncommonly pertinent, and helped to encourag Calefax to bring Bach right into their own very new century.

The presentation is thorough, as usual with MDG; a thoughtful essay by bassonist Alban Wesley traversing the group's responses to all the problems, and track by track details of the ten instruments used.

This disc will give prolonged satisfaction and is an essential base for those - including, surely, all wind instrument students - who go on to collect Calefax's recordings as they come out.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Bach Organ Trio Sonatas BMW 525-530

Musica Pacifica
Veritas 7243 5 45192 2 2

In these wll loved teaching pieces for his son Wilhelm Friedman, JSB incorporated earlier music for other instruments, and it is reasonably suggested that Judith Linsenberg has restored some of them here to close to their original forms.

Whatever, as with Calefax's one-to-a-part Art of Fugue, these are totally convincing and enjoyable - the more so to an aspiring amateur organist who, long ago, wrestled with mastering several of the movements, attempting to divide one's brain, arms and feet into three...

All power to Musica Pacifica for another great CD !