This recording is a musical oxymoron.
Odile Bailleux achieves something which I hear rarely and which I value a lot. It is both
dramatic, mainly through astonishing and extreme contrasts of colour and
it is serene and majestic. She achieves the latter partly through her tempos and phrasing, which succeed in making the gestures sound confident. But those words "majestic", "serene", "confident" don't do it justice, because they're all words you could use to describe the slightly pompous Bach recordings of Albert Schweitzer. What Odile Bailleux expresses which elevates this recording is mysticism
It made me think of Walcha's idea, from the period of his final Bach recordings, that baroque music is "still, calm and concentrated", like Gregorian chant.
She's helped by her organ, Almonacid de la Sierra (1773, Sanchez), which is grand, colourful and somehow warm and humane. The recording is glorious, you feel you're there! It had me strapped to my seat for the whole hour or more.