This double album is really a marvelous testament to the versatility and originality of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, probably the greatest Dutch organist ever. This is an ideal collection of pieces that spans a wide range of Sweelinck's numerous compositions.
Christopher Herrick is an ideal exponent of this wonderful music that shows the high esteem in which the composer was held. I remember hearing some of his works a number of years ago in a Piet Kee collection on Chandos and remember being bowled over by the music.
There is much to enjoy here with the various pieces such as the expansive Fantasia Chromatica and the exquisite, 'Ballo del granduca' providing contrasting emotions. There are various Dutch titled preludes rather similar to the more erstwhile Bach style but at the same time retaining that unique Sweelinck touch.
Herrick is clearly enjoying himself in the myriad of tones and musical variety that is thrown at him especially in the Phrygian Fantasy that opens the second disc and the monumental concluding Ricercar, probably one of the greatest ever organ compositions. I spent a blissful two and a half hours listening to this music transported almost 4 centuries before in a large Reformation Church, an experience that I hope many more will share!
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech