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The Gift of Music | CDs | Classical Compliations | Bach Great Organ Works
The Spy's Choirbook - Petrus Alamire & the Court of Henry VIII - 2CD set
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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 5651 Toccata2 FugueToccata, Adagio and Fugue in C majorBWV 5643 Toccata4 Adagio5 FugueFantasia and Fugue in G minor BWV 5426 Fantasia7 FuguePrelude and Fugue in C major BWV 5478 Prelude9 FuguePrelude and Fugue in A major BWV 53610 Prelude11 FuguePassacaglia in C minor BWV 58212 Passacaglia and FugueMartin Souter, organGarrels organ 1732CCL CDG1273Cover image: St Peters ChurchC Latitude Stock/AlamyP & C 2013 Classical Communications LtdMade in Great BritainThe organ music of Bach is quite miraculous. Coming from a long line of musicians,Bachs first career jobs involved playing the organ, and this is when he wrote mostof his organ music. So the pieces on this album date in the main from the firsttwo decades of the 18th century. Bach lived and worked in southern Germanyall his life, but he was well aware of musical trends all over Europe. He built onthe traditional forms which he already knew from the music of his family and hiscontemporaries, but he always managed to take them to new heights. Apart from hiswork on chorale preludes, in which he would set a hymn tune from the repertoireof his beloved Lutheran church, most of his works for organ come in two halves, afreestyle first piece and a stricter second piece in the form normally of a fugue. Soapart from the final work in this programme, all begin with, for example, a prelude,fantasia or toccata. Deriving its name from an Italian word meaning to touch orplay, the toccata is probably the most free of these and certainly the most virtuosic.The Toccata in D minor fits this bill perfectly, with its super dramatic opening andits frankly flashy keyboard writing. It even has several solo moments for the pedal,making considerable demands of the organists feet! The next toccata is equallydemanding, and after a very fast moving opening has an extended pedal solo before a long and very joyous final section. Each of these toccatas is followed by a fugue. The D minor fugue is of course famous, again incorporating changes of keyboard and more pedal solos. The C major fugue is a delight, and dances along in a triple Bach Great Organ Works metre, once again full of irrepressible joy. It is preceded by the very moving Adagio in which a haunting solo is accompanied by a repeated motif played by the feet. The fantasia was generally slightly stricter than a toccata in its style. So after its rhetorical opening, the Fantasia in G minor has several sections which develop counterpoint, which is the use of more than one part at a time, rather like the different voices that can be heard in a choir. The prelude is another varied form which for Bach could mean a gentle piece such as the C major prelude with its lilting rhythm, or the inverter, Prelude in A major with its gentle and almost pastoral feeling. Counterpoint is the main feature of all fugues. They all begin one voice at the time as a theme is presented. This theme then enters in different voices until the maximum number for the work are all presented. The work then continues to present the theme in many different ways, pitches and even speeds, generally building up to a climax towards the end, when the number of entries of the theme can intensify very significantly. The organ on this recording is quite remarkable. Built in 1732 by Garrels, it sits high on the west wall of a church in Maassluis in Holland. It is a large instrument and a remarkable survival, being very little altered since it was first built. The main organ sits in an elaborate case above the players head, but the large pedal pipes are in all cases on either side. The quality of the instrument is more than matched by the glorious acoustic of what is a large church, with quite a considerable reverberation time.
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