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Born around 1570, Christian Erbach apparently pursued the career of a musician from his earliest years. By his early 30s he had taken over organist positions in Augsburg previously held by the better known Hans Leo Hassler (the subject of another unrivalled compendium by Manuel Tomadin on Brilliant Classics, 95331). Like Hassler, Erbach was evidently influenced as a composer by Italian and in particular Venetian flavors of polychoral and effervescent writing even in his instrumental output. The predominant forms in this set are toccatas, canzonas and ricercars, as well as instrumental 'settings' of the Magnificat and the Ordinary of the Mass for liturgical use. Erlebach himself must have been an organist of tremendous flourish and with an ear for liturgical theatre, to judge from the colorful array of textures he demands in his music. Both his music and his renown as a teacher exercised a formative influence over the next two generations of German organ music - from which eventually emerged it's own dominant figure, Johann Sebastian Bach (who also looked over to the other side of the Alps for stylistic inspiration). In an extensive booklet introduction to Erlebach's life and works, the organist Manuel Tomadin makes available much research otherwise unavailable in English. He has chosen to make this comprehensive set on a selection of organs in northern Italy and Austria, all of them equipped with the registral possibilities to make the composer's music sing in it's own language, and several of them dating from Erlebach's own time, based in Bologna, Mantova, Pistoia and farther afield. All the instruments are illustrated in the booklet with color photographs and a detailed registration plan, making the set invaluable for both organ buffs and any listener with a broader interest in the German Baroque.