Monday, 25 February 2008

64. Johann Sebastian Bach - Preludes, Fantasias, Toccatas & Fugues (c.1705-48)


Title: Organ Works Vol.8
Performer: Gerhard Weinberger
Year: 2000
Length: 1 hour 8 minutes


As I have made clear on this blog previously I have a particular distaste for Organ Music, and unfortunately although I recognise the merits of Bach's works it has not converted me to the instrument. I did not need converting on Bach's capacities as a composer however and this recording has pleasantly confirmed my ideas.

As Organ music goes this is the best stuff you can get, Bach's Toccatas and Fugues are well known for good reason, they are incredibly expressive and impressive. The very famous BWV 565 is missing from this recording because its authorship is disputed, but the ones that are here make up for it in spades.

That said I really dislike the Organ and I hear the music and always think: This is great, I wish it was in some other instrument. Fortunately many of Bach's Organ works have been transcribed for other instruments, but they do in the end belong on the organ which I have difficulty stomaching.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Bach was best known during his lifetime as an organist, organ consultant, and composer of organ works in both the traditional German free genres such as preludes, fantasias, and toccatas, and stricter forms such as chorale preludes and fugues. He established a reputation at a young age for his great creativity and ability to integrate foreign styles into his organ works. A decidedly North German influence was exerted by Georg Böhm, with whom Bach came into contact in Lüneburg, and Dieterich Buxtehude in Lübeck, whom the young organist visited in 1704 on an extended leave of absence from his job in Arnstadt. Around this time, Bach copied the works of numerous French and Italian composers to gain insights into their compositional languages, and later arranged violin concertos by Vivaldi and others for organ and harpsichord. His most productive period (1708–14) saw the composition of several pairs of preludes and fugues and toccatas and fugues, and of the Orgelbüchlein ("Little organ book"), an unfinished collection of 45 short chorale preludes that demonstrate compositional techniques in the setting of chorale tunes. After he left Weimar, Bach's output for organ fell off, although his best-known works (the six trio sonatas, the Clavierübung III of 1739, and the "Great eighteen" chorales, revised late in his life) were all composed after this time. Bach was extensively engaged later in his life in consulting on organ projects, testing newly built organs, and dedicating organs in afternoon recitals. One of the high points may be the third part of the Clavierübung, a setting of 21 chorale preludes uniting the traditional Catholic Missa with the Lutheran catechism liturgy, the whole set interpolated between a mighty Prelude and Fugue on the theme of the Trinity.

BWV 540/1, Toccata in F major:


Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous here. How are you obtaining these recordings? This particular Bach recording, for example, is quite difficult to come by, at least where I live. In such cases I generally turn to certain sub-legal sources, but many of these recordings aren't even anywhere to be found in the wide wide world of online piracy, as far as I can tell, which is extremely frustrating. Maybe I'm not looking the right places. I'm amazed that you manage to be finding these for yourself so steadily. Do you just have access to an excellent library? Or do you have some tips and tricks that might be of use to someone like me who's attempting to tread a similar path?

Francisco Silva said...

Well this particular one was quite hard to find, I had to buy it, if I can I will try to stream them from a legal service like Napster. Unfortunately Napster is often useless when it comes to classical music.

If Napster does not have it I usually go tu eMule and, as is often the case I get it from Marketplace sellers if all else fails.

The way I manage to get them steadily is that when I post one album I go looking for the album which is 10 places ahead, allowing me quite a while to be able to get it.