Saturday 15 February 2020

Getting to know your organ...

I am far from an expert - or indeed fan - of the organ; but there is some organ music of which I am fond. It may help someone else 'get into' this instrument.

Probably the most immediately appealing, and lastingly enjoyable, organ music (to my taste) are the Opus 7 Concertos by Handel - especially in this version played by Peter Hurford:

Then, if you want to try the organ as a solo instrument, I would suggest starting with the Bach Trio Sonatas - which have been wonderfully recorded by Ton Koopman.

In a sense these are untypical of the mass of organ music - both in the type of instrument used (a lighter, flutier sound than usual); and in the genre of music being played (baroque, rather than romantic).

An earlier, more austere and indeed tragic, piece is the D-minor Passacaglia by Buxtehude - which I would rank as a truly great piece of music. Note: A passacaglia is an archaic form of variations in triple time; built over a repeating sequence of bass notes (played on the organ pedals).

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