François Couperin & Jean-Henri d’Anglebert

Complete works for organ

Julien Tribuot organ,1699, Eglise St Martin, Seurre, Burgundy, France

American Record Guide  Johnstone treats us to some very stylish playing…[he] puts a human face on this music and brings it to life, demonstrating at every turn that he understands it from the inside…One could hardly ask for anything more…There are many recordings of the Couperin masses but I am confident that listeners will not go wrong with this one.’

Early Music Review   My admiration for James Johnstone’s choice of instrument, disciplined approach to the registration and strict observance of the conventions of rhythm and ornamentation knows no bounds: he plays this repertoire with a detailed knowledge of the style on an appropriate organ that I’ve never heard before in an acoustic that allows the detail and flexible rhythms of his inégales to be appreciated and enjoyed…It is by the fluid rhythms of the recits en taille that I think players of this repertoire – which looks so plain on paper until it is brought to life by a player who has the conventions of late 17th- and early 18th-century French music in his bones – should be judged, and I think Johnstone has it. I particularly value Johnstone’s nose for sniffing out such high-quality, lesser-known instruments.


J S Bach Vol 2

Fantasias, Preludes & Fugues

Raphaëlis organ, 1554-55,  Roskilde Cathedral, Denmark

BBC Music Magazine  [Johnstone] has certainly got quite an ear for organ heaven…His subtle phrasings shadows Bach’s wistful musings, teasing out a wealth of expressive asides….[BWV578] is driven with inexorable clarity lending whirlwind exhilaration.

Choir & Organ  Wonderful playing!

Organist’s Review 5 Stars  The pieces heard here have an orchestral excitement to them, and Johnstone’s playing expresses a kind of purity, a luminous clarity of line, which is involving.

Diapason magazine   Johnstone shows an completely convincing personality. Radiant yet never showy technique, clarity of the most intricate polyphonies, spontaneous sounding ornamentation…Among the total successes of this recording the BWV 544 Prelude in B minor is a notable example…a noble discourse, perfectly placed between contrasts and overall conception, perfectly counterbalanced by the sober and restrained tone of the fugue that follows…this disc is impossible to do without.      Diapason d’Or

Orgues Nouvelles   Coup de coeur!

Early Music (OUP)    Johnstone’s realisation of Bach’s organ works is remarkable… a tantalizing series. Johnstone possesses total musical integrity, seeing a rock-solid rhythmic drive propel Bach’s music forward with a peerless technique, allowing seamless execution and innovation. It is throughout a breath-taking performance that bedazzles and beguiles from the off. Johnstone’s fresh and dynamic articulation…and nuance, ornamentation and phrasing are intelligent and well communicated throughout….imaginatively refreshing perspectives on the performance of Bach’s organ compositions.


J S Bach Vol 1

Clavier-Übung Part III

Joachim Wagner organ, 1739-41

Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, Norway

Metronome Recordings MET 1094

Gramophone August 2016 Johnstone thrusts us almost immediately into a bright world of urgent theatricality and rhythmic momentum… this is not just fine organ-playing but top-drawer keyboard-playing. [Johnstone]  never fails to offer the listener a probing intellectual template, fortified by a commanding technical presence…an unusual blend of stylistic flair [and] effortless class

Early Music    Where Johnstone’s performance becomes peerless lies with his interpretation of examples of Bach’s most complex chorale setting…closing the recital, the vast proportions of the Fuga a 5 pro Organo pleno, Bwv552ii, exude a sense of proportion, majesty and awe, stamping James Johnstone’s mark as a world-class interpreter of Bach’s most challenging organ music with rightful authority.

Music Web International Johnstone’s delicate registrations for the Duetti make excellent musical and stylistic sense…As a player, Johnstone has a tremendously agile technique and a superb keyboard facility…he delivers fluent and compelling performances…These are performances show a great deal of intelligent stylistic thought.

Early Music Review Johnstone’s vivid and sparkling performance on an excellently recorded, crystal-clear organ

Peeter Cornet (c.1560-1626)

Harpsichord by Malcolm Rose after Lodewyck Theewes, 1579
Organ by Severijn, c.1640-50, Cuijk, Netherlands

Gaudeamus ASV, 2005

Gramophone Of all Johnstone’s fine recitals this is my favourite…he has hit the bull’s-eye. If you knew about Cornet, chances are it will delight you; if you didn’t, the chances are just the same.

The Organ Johnstone’s playing is superb throughout; there is never a dull moment with his sense of balance and spaciousness together with effortless articulation and scintillating registrations

BBC Music Magazine Johnstone’s enthusiasm for Cornet’s gifts radiates from both the programming and the playing…[he] firmly guides the listener illuminating Cornet’s logic…this disc is a delight

Early Music Review Johnstone’s playing is colourful and insightful..he is fine form on this disc…impressive and enjoyable…this disc is full of superb performances – it’s hard to imagine Cornet being given a more sympathetic and persuasive reading. A fascinating disc, highly recommended

Choir and Organ Johnstone plays with great clarity and energy

Ercole Pasquini (fl 1580-1610)

complete works for keyboard
Italian harpsichord ‘F.A.’, 1677 (K Gilbert collection)
Italian Positive organ in 17thc style, Goetze and Gywnn, 1996

Gaudeamus ASV,2003

Independent on Sunday …the harpsichord writing is flushed with tenderness offset by dazzling figurework and decorations…Expressive organ playing and punch and dexterity of harpsichord playing are both exemplary. A brilliantly programmed, audacious piece of scholarly detective work

Gramophone Johnstone is a meticulous and zestful interpreter

Diapason ***** Johnstone a brillamment surmonté la reconstruction difficile [du texte] pour se consacrer à la variété, d’un jeu toujours libre et inspiré, témoin d’une belle intimité avec ce répertoire et, comme dans le disque précédent de Johnstone, un récital de Gibbons, faisant toujours ‘parler’ l’instrument…Il exploite pleinement les possibilités expressives du splendide clavecin italien. Une découverte majeure, d’autant que cette intégrale est servie par un musicien de tempérament et de goût.

Choir & Organ *****   The recorded sound is excellent, the two instruments wonderful, & Johnstone’s playing is exemplary, mixing the contemplative and fiery elements of this lovely music in equal measure. This recording is quite superb!

Elizabethan Keyboard Music

Works by Byrd, Sweelinck, Bull & Gibbons

harpsichord by Malcolm Rose after Lodewyck Theewes, 1579

Rose Records, 2002

JS Bach organ recital

Christian Müller organ, 1733/34 Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam

ASV Quicksilver 6250, 2001

BBC Music Magazine – Critics’ Choice 2001 Wrenching Bach from the grip of academic reverence, James Johnstone makes the Waalse Kerk organ crack and fizz with life. There is also grandeur and eloquence…Holistic, clean-lined Bach, packed full of vitamins.

Early Music Today …a stunning Bach recital. An electrifying performance of BWV 541…Johnstone’s playing has its own strong identity…[he] ends with a brilliant account of the ‘Wedge’. This CD is a winner.

Organists Review Johnstone’s interpretations are packed with an energy…a joyous celebration of all that is great about Bach’s organ music which, when well performed, is so edifying, gratifying and exciting to listen to.

Early Music News …there is demonstrable logic to every semiquaver he plays. …a fine accomplishment…a very impressive performance…this reading is as uplifting as any I know.

The Organ Here you will find playing of virtuoso stature…I find the technical facility of Johnstone more than allows the work to reach depths with a clarity that is quite remarkable…brilliant, fast, yet controlled, performances.

Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625)

Works for harpsichord and virginals

Harpsichord by Willem Kroesbergen, Utrecht 1972, after Bartolomeo Stephanini,1694.
Virginals by Adlam Burnett

Gaudeamus ASV, 1999

DEUTSCHE SCHALLPLATTENKRITIK PREIS   1999/4 Classic FM Magazine    Runner-up Baroque CD of the Month This is now easily the best Gibbons programme on disc

Gramophone …a high quality disc…lucid and empathetic playing

BBC Music Magazine James Johnstone has captured to perfection the private interior musings that characterise Gibbons’ fantasias and pavans.

Choir & Organ Beautifully presented performances…Johnstone plays with great sympathy and conviction — very flexible and musical at all times…a splendid disc. Essential listening.

Early Music Johnstone’s playing is mature…Clearly very much master of the idiom, he is bent on maximal expressiveness, in a decidedly virile and rhythmically firm yet still expressive manner.

Classics Today Johnstone is a vastly experienced keyboardist and happens to be just the clever, inventive, imaginative player this music requires…you can’t do better than this.

John Blow’s Anthology

Elizabeth Edgeworth’s Keyboard Book (complete)

works by Froberger, Fischer, Strungk, Blow
harpsichord (Kroesbergen,1972, after Stephanini,1694)
organ (Goetze and Gywnn after Father Smith, St.Michael’s Sheffield)

Meridian Records, 1996

Classic CD, March 1997 …Throughout the disc James Johnstone displays an extraordinary balance between discipline and passion, and an unswervingly refined and precise touch. This is playing of undeniable musicality.

Organist’s Review, February 1998 …On this interesting and first-class disc Johnstone’s bold, rhetorical and virtuoso playing lifts the music off the page with exemplary style.

Selected collaborative recordings

La Gamme

works by Marin Marais & Antoine Forqueray

Trio Sonnerie

Monica Huggett – violin Emilia Benjamin – viola da gamba James Johnstone – harpsichord
including Forqueray Suite in d minor
harpsichord by Stephan Geiger,1996, after Johann Christoph Österlein (1792)

Linn Records CKD 434 International Classical Music Awards 2014

Best Baroque Instrumental Nominee
Diapason James Johnstone insuffle á ces dernières une belle originalité qui justifie (en dehors d’une prise de son superlative) l’achat de ce disque

JS Bach Motets & organ music

Trinity Baroque

includes Chorale preludes BWV 622 & 601, and the Fugue on the Magnificat BWV 733 performed on the
1746 Hildebrandt organ, St.Wenzel, Naumburg, Germany
 Gramophone  The Hildebrandt organ sounds very fine in Johnstone’s hands


The Triumph of Apollo

Louis-Nicolas Clérambault

Cantatas and instrumental music, including Clérambault Suite in c minor

Meridian Records, 1994

JS Bach Epiphany Mass

Gabrieli Consort Consort & Players

including organ solos by Bach and Pachelbel on the
Adam Gottfried Oehme organ 1770-74, Brand-Erbisdorf

ARCHIV Produktion 0289 457 6312 5 DDD AH2

Bach & Telemann


including Bach’s Triple Concerto BWV 1044

Diapason ***** Le Triple Concerto bénéficie avec l’excellent Rodolfo Richter au violon et James Johnstone au clavecin Channel Classics CCS SA 27208

Bolivian Baroque Vol.3


including organ works by Zipoli on the18th century

Blockwerk organ, Santa Ana, the Missions, Bolivia

This organ is the sole surviving 18th century organ of the Chiquitania that has been preserved with its entire case and mechanics. Probably built by Fr. Martin Schmidt in San Javier sometime prior to 1767.

Gramophone Other highlights are Johnstone’s virtuoso performance of several colourful organ pieces by Domenico Zipoli: the texture and detail of the Canzona in G minor is enthralling.

San Francisco Classical Voice The SACD showcases the restored 18th-century Blockwerk organ located in the Mission Church of Santa Ana de Chiquitos deep in the rain forest. The organ’s sound — light, sweet, and entirely shorn of bombast — makes a fitting complement to the voices. Channel Classics CCS SA 28009

Joseph Haydn

Die Schöpfung

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Bernard Haitink

Gramophone A word, too, for the witty fortepiano continuo, whose creative touches include a delightful suggestion of angelic harps BR Media 2012

JS Bach Cantatas


including Sinfonia to Cantata BWV 146
Chest organ Winold van der Putten & Berend Veger, 1991
Edison – Best Baroque Recording 2008

Channel Classics CCS SA 23807

Music for the Duke of Lerma

Gabrieli Consort and Players

including solos and duos on the Diego Quijano organs, 1616 and 1617

ARCHIV Produktion 0289 471 6942 0 DDD AH2

French Baroque Flute Music

with Rachel Brown and Mark Caudle

including Rameau’s Piece de Clavecin No.5

Private Passion

Quantz Flute Sonatas with Rachel Brown

Uppernote Recordings 002

A Hanseatic Festival

German Renaissance Music

English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble
including Paduana Lachrymae set by Melchior Schildt

Deux-Elles DXL 1088

Telemann Paris Quartets Vol.3


Classica R10   I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more beautiful disc of Baroque chamber music than this one…the scintillating harpsichord playing of James Johnstone. He is just the right sort of continuo player, an inventive and expressive presence. Gramophone Florilegium are masters of this repertoire and, built on the imaginative continuo work of James Johnstone, offer charming delights aplenty Channel Classics CCS SA 21005


iFuriosi, Toronto

Dorian Sono Luminus DSL-90802

JS Bach St.Matthew Passion

Gabrieli Consort and Players

ARCHIV Produktion 0289 474 2002 6 2 CDs DDD AH2

JS Bach Orchestral Suites

Sonnerie – Monica Huggett

Grammy Award nomination 2010

Diapason d’Or June 2009

Avie AV2171

Missa Salisburgensis – Biber

Gabrieli Consort and Players & Musica Antiqua Köln

ARCHIV Produktion 0289 457 6112 1 CD DDD AH

Monteverdi – Vespers of the Blessed Virgin 1610

Gabrieli Consort and Players

including solos on an Italian chamber organ in 17th century style by Goetze & Gwynn

ARCHIV Produktion 0289 477 6147 1 DDD AH2

Praetorius – Christmas Mass

Gabrieli Consort and Players

ARCHIV Produktion 0289 439 9312 8 CD AH

Schütz – Christmas Vespers

Gabrieli Consort and Players

ARCHIV Produktion 0289 463 0462 4 DDD AH

The Road to Paradise

Gabrieli Consort and Players

℗ 2007 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin