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I'll be BACH

'There was something deeply satisfying about Aart Bergwerff's organ playing at St Michael's Church Dún Laoghaire on Sunday night. The programme helped, for it was dominated by high-quality music. But this recital lingered in the memory largely because Bergwerff (b.1960) has a rewarding way of leavening control of the instrument with thoughtful musicianship.

Extreme control can have its drawbacks. In the closing item, Laudate Dominum by Jan Welmers (b. 1937), unceasing digital accuracy emphasised just how over-long are some of the repetitions which dominate this unforgettable specimen of Dutch minimalism - Flor Peeters meets John Adams.

In Bach, Bergwerff's playing was exemplary in ways which transcended technical control. He negotiated the demands of the Concerto in D minor BWV 596 with what seemed like ease; and he placed interpretive values well before swaggering virtuosity.

However, for me, nothing in the recital showed the measure of this musician as much as his playing of Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr BWV 676.  Each part was independently and impeccably shaped, and articulation so often a mannerism in Dutch players - was always purposeful in driving the line. This tricky piece was played at a more leisurely pace than is common nowadays; but from the first note to the last it was full of rhythmic life and utterly captivating.'

Martin Adams, The Irish Times

posted on December 21, 2010