All-day Homage to Bach in Back Bay on Renowned Richards, Fowkes Organ
In celebration of the 325th anniversary of the birth of Thüringen’s most famous son, two musically active Back Bay churches threw open their doors all day on March 20, this first fully spring-like weekend of the year. First Lutheran, whose celebrated Richards, Fowkes organ, op. X, will mark its first decade this December, sponsored a solid and skillfully programmed octet of half-hour organ recitals. The concerts drew good audiences. (...)
Gusts of brisk Piemonte air blew in with Torino organist Luca Massaglia, who provocatively re-registered familiar Bach - to an enthusiastic reception, let it be said. From its propulsive opening, the full-textured declamations of his kinetic 'Dorian' Toccata & Fugue in d, BWV 538, seized the full attention of the numerous concertgoers.
Why on earth is it that Italian organists (and cembalists) often impart such vocal freedom, within strikingly disciplined rhythmic bounds, to music that originated on the frosty side of the Alps?
We continued to witness this in Mr. Massaglia’s masterful songfulness and emotional profundity in two Kirnberger-Choräle – Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten, BWV 690, and Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten, BWV 691. His ingenious, heartfelt registrations offered fresh looks at these old friends.
His Herzlich tut mich verlangen, BWV 727, Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 731, and the prayerful Vater unser im Himmelreich, BWV 737, were likewise invitations to peer into new and different sides of the Richards, Fowkes organ.
As he began his last piece, Mr. Massaglia beckoned to an Italian imp, ed eccola!, we had a dramatically effective ripieno introduction to the entire rest of the titanic, BWV 533. Hearty and prolonged applause followed the end of this Fuga. (...)
'The Boston Musical Intelligencer', 23 Marzo 2010