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Hans Helmut Tillmanns (Organ)

Hans Helmut Tillmanns on Danacord - Part 3

R-2

J.S. Bach: Organ Works, Vol. 2

Toccata & Fugue in D minor ("Dorian"), BWV 538 [6:23, 7:43]
Toccata & Fugue in F major, BWV 540 [10:33, 6:02]
Toccata, Adagio & Fugue in C major, BWV 564 [5:42, 4:20, 4:55]
Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 [2:29, 6:43]

Hans Helmut Tillmanns (Organ)

Danacord 528

Jun 1999

CD / TT: 54:54

Recorded at the Sandtner organ (1975) in Eichstätt Cathedral:[BWV 565]; Marcussen organ (1970) in Lübeck Cathedral [BWV 540, BWV 564]; Wagner organ (1723) in Brandenburg Cathedral [BWV 538].

Donald Satz wrote (November 14, 2001):
For details of the CD see above.

When last we met, Hans Helmut Tillmanns was giving us less than competitive performances on his Bach Chorales disc. I would think that the betting odds wouldn't be very favorable for a Tillmanns disc of powerful Bach organ works, but this set of performances is much better than those on the disc of chorales.

Tillmanns definitely realizes that power and punch are requirements for each of the four works. He still takes to the smooth road, but not excessively as he does in his recording of chorales. The beginning of his BWV 540 takes flight in a mesmorizing manner, and the Fugue is loaded with majesty. Particularly rewarding is his Adagio from BWV 564. It's a gorgeous reading with a very soft yet deep ending.

Only Tillmann's BWV 565 is not very satisfying. The Toccata cries out for sharp angles, and Tillmanns will never deliver them; it's not part of his musical personality. Also, the Fugue is too benign; this is the sole time on the disc that Tillmanns provides insufficient strength. Making matters worse, he summons up the power of the universe for the conclusion. However, I don't feel he's set any foundation for such a dramatic switch in the music's emotions.

The playing time of under sixty minutes is quite skimpy, and another work could easily have been accomodated. A label of less than major recognition would be wise to fill up those discs.

Don's Conclusions: The Tillmanns disc of Bach Toccatas & Fugues is very enjoyable, and I have no qualms about recommending it to Bach organ enthusiasts. The Marcussen Organ is especially well matched to Tillmann's style, and the two other organs are fine instruments. Of the three discs from Tillmanns devoted to Bach, this is the one to acquire. Actually, there is now a fourth release from Danacord which I'll be reviewing once I order it.

Any downsides to buying the recording? Yes - total playing time. Although the disc is a fine one, there are others out there which offer more music. So this is a 'thumbs-up" release without occupying any hallowed ground.

 

Hans Helmut Tillmanns: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Hans Helmut Tillmanns on Danacord - Part 1 | Hans Helmut Tillmanns on Danacord - Part 2 | Hans Helmut Tillmanns on Danacord - Part 3 | Hans Helmut Tillmanns on Danacord - Part 4

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Last update: żOctober 2, 2007 ż22:43:32