George Ritchie
Reviews - Vol. I
More reviews:
Organ Works Complete
Vol. II
Vol. III
Vol. IV
Vol. V
Vol. VI
Review - J. S. Bach Organ Works, Vol. I: German Virtuosity & Italian Elegance
Jon Holland, DMA
The Dalles, OR
The Diapason, December 1994

"There are many reasons why one must own this recording. One reason is to hear the organ: Fritts-Richards Organ Builders, Op. 3, at St. Alphonsus Parish Church in Seattle, Washington. This organ is one of the most significant installations in recent years. Based on North-German principles of the late 17th and 18th centuries, it is an organ ideally suited to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Its sound is further enhanced by the resonant acoustics of the church.

"Another reason is to hear the artist, George Ritchie. Dr. Ritchie possesses a flawless technique that neither draws attention to itself, nor detracts from the music in any way: his playing always sounds effortless. His performance is sensitive to musical and stylistic considerations.

"The music included on the program provides a third reason for owning this recording. One might argue that the world does not need yet another recording of Bach organ works. That may be, but this is Bach as Bach intended his music to be heard.

"The interesting and informative notes of the liner booklet are another reason to own this CD. Written by George Stauffer, the notes provide the reader with historical and technical information about each piece. Also included is a disposition of the organ, and a list of registrations used by Dr. Ritchie throughout the recording.

"The world's best organ music, a world-class organ, and a premier performer all combine to make this collection a must for any serious collector of organ recordings. I commend this CD highly."

More Reviews
Arthur Lawrence
The American Organist, April 1994
"The subtitle of this release describes it accurately in one phrase: "German Virtuosity & Italian Elegance." The music, both virtuosic and elegant, represents a good cross section of Bach's styles and periods, and makes a satisfying recital heightened by the magnificant sonorities of the 1984 Fritts-Richards organ, the builders' Op.3. This instrument, based on North German principles of the late 17th and early 18th centuries and tuned in Kirnberger III temperament, is a perfect vehicle for the works at hand - it serves to accentuate what is already implicit in the music. As George Stauffer notes in his interesting essay in the program booklet, "Almost 300 years after they were set down on paper, Bach's organ works continue to surprise, astonish, and delight. The richness of harmony, the sophistication of counterpoint, and the boldness of technique place them among the most rewarding - and challenging - pieces ever written for the instrument." Dr. Ritchie's well-reasoned interpretation yields an excellent performance, which is, again, both virtuosic and elegant, and which promotes musical values above all else. The booklet includes the specification and the complete registrations - the latter being a real boon to anyone who really wants to study the sounds of this organ. Producer William Van Pelt's work has resulted in natural, lifelike recorded sound. This is a beautiful recording that provides satisfying listening time after time."
John Redford
The Organ, Vol. 75, No. 295.
"This is an authoritative recording by a scholar who can translate theory into practice. Recorded on an unenclosed, 2 manual instrument built in 1984 by Fritts-Richards as Opus 3, George Ritchie plays a well-chosen programme which fully demonstrates the versatility of this magnificent 31-stop organ from the impressive Principal choruses - heard to good effect in the three large-scale contrapuntal works - to the delightful softer registers such as the wonderfully bucolic 8 Dulcian in the First Movement of the Pastorella and the numerous flute and mutation combinations in Sei gegrusset. In fact, my only reservation regarding registration is the over-use of the 32' Reed in the whole of the Fantasia in G minor. Full registrational details of each piece are included together with a specification of the organ and excellent notes by George B Stauffer. This is a most enjoyable recording. Ritchie plays with style and his tempos are not excessive."
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