J.S. Bach: Organ Music

Record Label: MSR Classics
Release Date: July 2015

Fisk Organ [OPUS 83, 1983]
Downtown Presbyterian Church, Rochester, NY

Schlicker Organ [1970]
First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lyons, NY


“Barbara Harbach puts forth this program with authority, subtlety, and in a great variety of voicings which few organists can conceive, let alone manifest at the console.”
Organ Historical Society [Online Catalog]

“Both [organs played] are outstanding instruments, and the differences between venues and instruments does not affect the superb quality of the performances or record engineering… The recording is a well done, digitally remastered version of an earlier recording. Throughout there is a fine quality of sound which is warm and reverberant, but without losing definition or clarity in articulation… Barbara Harbach presents [the music] with great technical precision and inspiring musicality. Her runs are performed brilliantly with crisp, clear articulation, and her use of the full range of colors available on these two outstanding instruments is impressive. Harbach is one of the most well-known and respected performers today, and this recording is sure to please.”
Panpipes [Fall 2016]

[ + + + + ] “…[Harbach’s Bach is] relaxed, genial, and devotional… Harbach in fact reminds me of one of my favorites, E Power Biggs… The sound, as on so many MSR recordings, is warm and vibrant, analog-like… equally rich in tonal luster and true to the instrument. An easy recommendation.”
Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition [July 2016]

“[Harbach has] formidable technique… hers is one of the most fluent performances I have heard of ‘An Wasserflüssen Babylon’… The tone [of the Fisk organ in Rochester] combines clarity with warmth and refinement—hallmarks of Fisk’s best work. Judging from the decay of final chords, the room is far from dry, but without sumptuous reverberation.”
Gaten, American Record Guide [July/August 2016]

“[the recordings have been] expertly remastered here by the MSR engineers, the results having state-of-the-art sound quality… Harbach is a fine Bach player: every work on this CD comes across with spirit and a deft sense for the plentiful contrapuntal writing. She plays Bach with judicious tempos throughout, and never seems to inject a wayward personal touch or eccentricity into the music. Her interpretations are fairly straightforward, always sounding vital and intelligent, never calculated or cautious… This disc by Barbara Harbach is just as outstanding as those two and thus warrants a strong recommendation.”
Robert Cummings, ClassicalNet [March 2016]

“All of these works have, of course, been played to death by organists of every persuasion on organs of every period and design. But Barbara Harbach brings her own special artistry to this music, and on a couple of outstanding organs that are very exhilarating to hear—one of them, a Fisk by an all-American company established in Gloucester, Massachusetts only in 1961; and the other, a Schlicker, also an American company, but founded in 1930 by a third-generation builder who had studied organ building in Germany, France, and Denmark, and who combined in his instruments the characteristic properties of the great European organ building traditions… Harbach is a wonderful player—which I already knew from her The Art of Fugue—and this disc is easily recommended to anyone who loves Bach’s organ music performed with all the stops pulled out.”
Jerry Dubins, Fanfare [March/April 2016]

“…this 2015 reissue on MSR Classics is a digitally remastered CD that offers enhanced sound for Harbach’s exquisite performances… the sound of the album overall is even and quite clear, and the change of venue makes little difference in the audio quality… Harbach’s execution is meticulous and rhythmically alert, so the freshness of her interpretations is matched by her impeccable presentation, making this a superb Bach album by any standard.”
Blair Sanderson, All Music [February 2016]