Marie-Claire Alain is not only one of the greatest organists alive today, but she stands directly in a what is undoubtedly the world's greatest tradition of organ playing. It was France that first rediscovered and cultivated Bach's organ music, and which in turn stimulated the great works of Franck, Widor, Vierne, and their school. Alain has recorded Bach's complete organ music no less than three times, here on historical organs of Bach's own time. Each disc is planned as a recital that showcases both the music and the instrument. Her performances are simply the last word in style, musicianship, and virtuosity. Magnificent. --David Hurwitz
On sent que l'interprète prend du recul et va choisir des instruments aux très belles sonorités pour nous donner une version toute à la fois rigoureuse et libre de Bach. Chaque CD est conçu comme un récital, mêlant différents types de morceaux (préludes et fugues, chorals...) pour illustrer une facette de la personnalité de Bach.
Each piece is played with life and inspiration. The organs and the spaces they are in are gorgeous. The organs are all Baroque instruments, some that Bach may have played and others that are wonderful copies of period instruments. The recording is clean and captures, as much as possible, the feeling of listening to the music in the space.
As a teaching or resource tool, this cycle is invaluable. The booklet with each CD includes a description, in French, German and English, of each piece along with the registration that was used. The pieces are easy to find and organized to make listening to a whole CD a delight.
Though it doesn't affect the sound quality of the recordings, the packaging is amazing with different, artistic photos of the organs that are played printed on the CDs themselves and on the booklets.
I love the way Marie-Claire Alain plays just about everything. She strikes the perfect balance between rythmic integrity and musicality. Her registrations, articulations and interpretations are based in a depth of scholastic knowledge without sounding boring or pedantic.
I treasure this set and have never regretted making the purchase.
I purchased this set, my third, to listen to the master's technique and registration and it is VERY good. It is not the kind of thing, however, that you want to listen to in one sitting or even in fourteen sittings. I have listened to the whole thing. I was looking for a definitive statement on phrasing and registration for use in my own performances. Certainly can't fault the technique but all the preludes and fugues sound alike, all the chorales sound alike, etc. I find myself wondering what Marie-Claire's OTHER cycles sound like. I may spring for one more. Haven't decided yet.
Good in every way but not to be taken whole. The similarities in registration, interpretation and the overall sound overwhelm the the individual performances.
I have the Ritchie cycle and am not satisfied with the technique althought it did not affect me way the Alain recording did. Also, I have the Richter recording. This is not a complete cycle. Superb technique and sound on the first two disks but the third was, I understand, recorded much later. Either the master was having a bad day, stressed or the recording is not good or something. Best left alone.