Birth album cover

Birth: Bach Organ Meditation 1 (2003)

Music for Advent & Nativity
1979 Fincham/Smenge Organ, Mary Immaculate Church, Waverley NSW

Bach Organ Meditation 1

Anticipation – Bethlehem – Celebration

Come, Healer of the Heathen BWV 659-661
Pieces for Advent and Nativity from Little Organ Book BWV 599-602
Lord Jesus Christ turn unto us BWV 709
Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring BWV 147
Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565
Fantasia in G major BWV 572
Lesser Prelude and Fugue in G major BWV 550
Great Prelude and Fugue in C major BWV 547

Running time 72:00

Designer: Mark Venice
Cover booklet of twenty-four full-colour pages, including:

  1. A general introduction to Bach’s music for organ, particularly his use of symbolism and numerology.
  2. A solution to the puzzle about whether and when Bach wrote the best-known of all organ works, Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565. (It is argued, contrary to all suggestions hitherto, that this masterpiece was composed in Bach’s thirties, during his six years at Coethen.)
  3. A suggestion that the triple-section Fantasia in G major BWV 572 images the process of conception, pregnancy and birth, and that it probably celebrates the birth in 1708 of Catharina, the first of Bach’s twenty children.


Much of interest and indeed, novelty… uses unorthodox (to modern ears) registration, and aims to articulate using the principles of C.P.E. Bach. Sixteen-foot pedal tone is used sparingly. At times the instrument sounds as much like a harpsichord as a pipe organ, with spread chords and ornate embellishments. Kinsela is not afraid to use single stops – including reeds – for the more homophonic music. His notes inegales in the Fantasia in G is a particular delight… For those of us who love Bach and need a new angle from which to appreciate it, especially in its liturgical context, then I recommend this recording. The programme notes are also worth detailed study.

The Organ (UK)

Kinsela ‘pedals in socks; splinters permitting’. This is one of the quirky aspects of an otherwise fine recording. The performance is of a high standard in execution… the unfamiliar organbuilder has done a fine job with this compact instrument of only 23 stops. The environment is acoustically sympathetic, and sympathetically captured.

The American Organist (USA)

… must surely provoke a great deal of reflection… no neo-baroque shrill registrations, but deep mellow rich sounds with clear melodic lines… especially appealing is the quality of scholarship… The booklet [gives] a deeper understanding of Bach’s mind in his writing and is compulsory reading along with the listening.

Hunter Valley Organ Society Journal (NSW)

There is beauty in its subtlety – it doesn’t hit you at first but you discover it with further listening… ‘Jesu joy of man’s desiring’ is another delight, cleanly rendered and well paced.

Early Music News (Sydney, June 2004)


Acknowledgements are made in the cover booklet.