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This commendable research-based recording of the Sonatas raises fascinating questions. Whiteley’s booklet notes explore issues relevant to all organists: single-stop registrations, multiple-stop registrations, 8ftor 16FTPEDAL pitches, appropriate Bach organs, ornamentation, and the speculative topic of Lutheran symbolism. Each topic is discussed using 18th-century evidence, with related sources such as Bach’s scoring of Sonatas III/2 and IV/1 in their instrumental versions. As acknowledged, the evidence can be interpreted in different ways, so this recording is far from doctrinaire. The playing eschews the virtuoso approach but demonstrates in organ sound the plethora of ideas based on thorough research. Highly recommended.

DAVID PONSFORD Read the full review on Agora Classica

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