(The) Andreas Bach Book
The Andreas Bach Buch is an important, early 18th-century source of keyboard music by French, German and Italian composers, including JS Bach, Buxtehude, Froberger, Pachelbel and many others. Maurizio Croci has devised a pleasing selection of well-known works, such as Bach’s Passacaglia (here given a bold, magisterial reading), and ones which deserve to be heard more frequently. In this latter category I would place Reincken’s delightful Ballet with its adventurous harmonies and inventive keyboard figuration, and Buttstedt’s Prelude and Fugue which are as glittering as anything composed by Bach or Buxtehude. Full marks for such a satisfying programme and it’s good to hear it played onan authentic late 18th-century organ set in a generous acoustic and well recorded.
Croci’s enjoyable performances are clearly articulated and like many players in this repertoire he has a flexible approach to the basic pulse. His ornamentation perhaps could have been a little bolder but I’m sure he’ll become more daring with greater experience. His use of the marvellous organ at Payerne is certainly very colourful and striking with plentiful use of the reed stops. There are many beautiful quiet single registers to be heard, too, and this 1784 Grob organ, restored by Ahrend in 1993, is an excellent organ for this repertoire. The informative booklet lists all the registrations used, and this CD should be a rewarding experience for students and lovers of early 18th-century music.