Simon Preston

J.S. Bach: Toccata & Fugue BWV 565, etc.

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AllMusic Review by

Simon Preston's performances of Bach's organ works are among the finest in Deutsche Grammophon's catalog and stand as examples of how effective this music is when played without affectation. This disc opens with the ubiquitous Toccata and Fugue in D minor, taken slower than is usually heard, but played crisply to clarify details others often rush past for show. The sprightly opening of the Fantasia in G major leads to a majestic contrapuntal section, with suspensions at nearly every bar line. However, Preston's con moto tempo prevents tedium. A late work of contrapuntal mastery exceeded only by the Musical Offering and the Art of Fugue, Bach's Canonic variations for organ on "Vom Himmel Hoch da komm ich her" is given a bright and lucid performance. The amusing Prelude and Fugue in D major is built on the flimsiest scraps, though these generate astonishingly complex music. The Pastorale in F major, gentle and unadorned, has a light registration of flutes and reeds. Concluding with the expansive "St. Anne" Prelude and Fugue, Preston plays with clipped rhythms and in a lively tempo to propel the music to its glorious summation. The sound of the recording is excellent, though the clicking of the organ's mechanical action is sometimes intrusive.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Toccata and Fugue, for organ in D minor, BWV 565 (BC J37)
1
2:30
2
5:59
Pièce d'orgue (Fantasia), for organ in G major, BWV 572 (BC J83)
3
1:14
4
4:46
5
1:33
Vom himmel hoch, da komm ich her (I), canonic variations on the Christmas hymn for organ, BWV 769
6
1:30
Vom himmel hoch, da komm ich her (II), canonic variations on the Christmas hymn for organ (early version), BWV 769a
7
1:30
Vom himmel hoch, da komm ich her (I), canonic variations on the Christmas hymn for organ, BWV 769
8
2:24
9
2:54
10
3:07
Prelude and Fugue, for organ in D major ("Little"), BWV 532 (BC J13, 54, 70)
11
4:22
12
5:02
Pastorale for organ in F major, BWV 590 (BC J81)
13
2:04
14
2:21
15
2:24
16
3:54
Prelude and Fugue, for organ in E flat major ("St. Anne;" Clavier-Übung III/26), BWV 552 (BC J16)
17
8:04
18
6:10
blue highlight denotes track pick