Pachelbel: Organ Works, Vol 2

Johann Pachelbel: Organ Works, Vol 2
Matthew Owens
Organ by Bernard Aubertin

Resonus Classic RES10303. 76’20

Matthew Owens follows his Pachelbel Organ Works Volume 1 (reviewed here, with background comments that I will not repeat here) with this volume, recorded on an impressive 2015 three-manual, 30-stop Bernard Aubertin organ in a private house in East Sussex. The programme follows a similar format to the first volume, with a Chorale Partita (on Christus, der ist mein Leben) a sequence of 23 Magnificat Fugues (Primi Toni), five chorale preludes and an opening (unrelated) Prelude and Fugue in D.

One of the problems with recording complete Pachelbel is that many of his pieces are very short. Volume 1 had 36 tracks and this has 43. Pulling those into a coherent recital is not easy, but Matthew Owens uses a wide range of registrations to bring contrast to the programme. In doing so he highlights the colours of the substantial Aubertin organ. It is an interesting choice of organ, its generally eclectic French character being very far from the Southern German sound world that Pachelbel knew. The domestic acoustic is also far from that of large churches that Pachelbel composed for, although it suits the intimate scale of the Chorale Partita, which may have been intended for harpsichord rather than organ. I hope that some of the later volumes will be recorded on a South German organ of the period in a substantial acoustic: Pachelbel does rather suffer in grandeur terms over his North German colleagues by generally being performed in a rather intimate style.