Bach Transcriptions by Respighi and Elgar

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

This exciting disc makes a very welcome return to the catalog on Naxos. The Respighi transcriptions reveal his typical mastery of orchestration, particularly in the larger pieces: the Prelude and Fugue BWV 532 and the great Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor BWV 582. The chorale transcriptions are also very lovely, and include the famous “Wachet auf” (“Sleepers Awake!”) BWV 645. In the Sonata BWV 1023, Ilkka Talvi proves a sensitive and musicianly soloist as well. However, the real treat is Elgar’s arrangement of the Fantasia and Fugue in C minor BWV 537. It’s insane. In the fugue, next to Elgar’s tambourine, glockenspiel, harp glissandos, and looney trumpet licks, Stokowski’s Bach might as well be the work of a period-instrument specialist. It’s wonderful, and Gerard Schwarz gets his players to blast their way through the piece with total conviction. The sonics also constitute one of the better efforts from this source and era (1990). Buy it and love it.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: No reference recording

J.S. BACH: Chorale Preludes BWV 659, 648, 645; Sonata in E minor BWV 1023; Prelude and Fugue in D major BWV 532; Passacalgia and Fugue in C minor BWV 582 (all arr. Respighi); Fantasia and Fugue in C minor BWV 537 (arr. Elgar)

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