HELMUT WALCHA - Chorale Preludes Vol. 2

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HELMUT WALCHA - Chorale Preludes Vol. 2 - Wolfgang Rübsam (Organ) - John Brombaugh Organ Op. 35 - 747313291175 - Released: January 2013 - Naxos 8.572911

After having heard and reviewed (here) the first volume of these wonderful Chorale Preludes by organist/composer Helmut Walcha (1907-1991), and now being deeply entrenched into listening sessions of Volume 2 of a projected four volumes, one undeniable realization has become more and more certain. Walcha's rock solid grasp of music's harmonic aspects, and most particularly his innate ability to create new relationships between intervals (be they normal or odd), are fascinating things to witness first hand. For a conservative composer, he very often drew outside the lines to great effect. For example, the ingenious and resourceful ways in which he pits a totally foreign counterpoint or harmonically supporting bass line against the main chorale's melody, and in doing so creates a fascinatingly interlocking musical puzzle which in the end all fits together perfectly, is quite honestly amazing. One of the many great examples of just that is the Chorale Prelude No. 5 Gottes Sohn ist kommen. Only one of these unusual concoctions feels contrived and backfires on him, the Chorale Prelude No. 17 Lobet den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren. But from start to finish, each and every Prelude has something to say, and plenty of harmonic intricacies to entice your ears and work your mind.

As in Volume 1, the organ used in this recording fits the size of the music very well, and reveals its true voice without ever coloring it. Organist Wolfgang Rübsam once again finds and exposes the root of each piece, and through proper registration and very musical comportment, allows each one to grow and reveal its flower.

Jean-Yves Duperron - March 2013