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Piano Trascriptions of Bach’s Works
General Discussions

Bach Transcriptions

Sean Haw wrote (April 4, 2001):
I would appreciate opinions on these recording's of Transriptions of bach's works;
1. Demidenko's Bach-Busoni on Hyperion
2. Risto Lauriala on Naxos
3. Kempff on DG/ Eloquence

Can someone recommend some other cd's of (mainly) Bach Transcriptions?

Thanks

Neil McKelvie wrote (April 4, 2001):
[To Sean Haw] There is a CD of Bach-Friedman transcriptions by Lars Boye Jensen. He is a very good pianist who plays cleanly, and these transcriptions are not available elsewhere, but I was struck by a non-musical contrast - between the strong commanding face of Bach himself and the photo of the pianist looking quietly and modestly at the camera.

Peter Schenkman wrote (April 4, 2001):
[To Sean Haw] Read my post of Saturday, March 31 (New Naxos Releases) on this subject.

Jonathan Yungkans wrote (April 4, 2001):
[To Sean Haw] The Demidenko and Kempff discs are both excellent. Demidenko's playing is bold and large-toned, while Kempff exhibits his usual taste and musicality, belying the fact that he was or nearing 80 when he made the recording.

Lauriala's playing is not as distinctive or individual but still capable, and the transcriptions he plays are not available elsewhere, plus the price of the Naxos is not much. If you want to hear the disc before purchasing it, log onto www.naxos.com, search for the disc in the catalog (the cat. number is 8.553761), click on the underlined catalog number, and you will be taken to a listening site where you can hear the entire disc if you wish. If you want to read a review of the disc, log onto http://inkpot.com/classical/bachtranslau.html.

Felix Delbruck wrote (April 6, 2001):
[To Sean Haw] On APR's Fiorentino Edition vol. V the pianist plays, among other things, Busoni transcriptions of (for organ) Prelude and Fugue in D, BWV 532, and Prelude and Fugue in E flat BWV 552 (St. Anne). The latter in particular can be very warmly recommended - wonderful tone, musically lucid, vital, festive, grand. The CD also has the Rachmaninoff transcriptions of 3 movements from the 3rd violin partita, and I prefer this performance to the composer's, it's less mannered.

 

Piano Transcriptions of JS Bach's Works

Rianto Pardede wrote (July 11, 2001):
Just recently subscribed to this list, so here goes:

My dear grandmother used to say that we ought to thank God for allowing the Gospel sent to our homeland, despite its geographical remoteness. Well, I thank God that it was the Germans (Lutheran, they were ) He chose
to do the job. They showed and taught my people the beauty of choir music.

Anyway, I'm now focusing my listening into the master's solo piano works. Lately I came to realize that there are ( many ? ) CDs of piano transcriptions of his works. For my future reference, can somebody suggests recordings to consider ?

Adam Balmer wrote (July 11, 2001):
[To Rianto Pardede] You might try any [or all] of Glenn Gould's recordings

John Hatford wrote (July 11, 2001):
Rianto Pardede wrote:
< I'm now focusing my listening into the master's solo piano works. Lately I came to realize >
"Solo piano works" should read "solo harpsichord works." Any Bach played on the piano should really be considered a transcription, with the possible exception of the two ricercar from the Musical Offering (BWV 1079), which might have been written with the forte piano in mind. From this point of view there are many "piano transcriptions" for you to investigate! Good hunting,

Rianto Pardede wrote (July 12, 2001):
Ron Chaplin wrote:
I think you may open a flood gate in response to your question.

John Hartford wrote:
"Solo piano works" should read "solo harpsichord works."

Allan Balmer wrote:
You might try any [or all] of Glenn Gould's recordings
..................

Thank you for your response !
And my apology to all, first time in and I'm such an embarrasment to myself.

I wrote:( please disregard this...)

< Anyway, I'm now focusing my listening into the master's solo piano works. Lately I came to realize that there are ( many ? ) CDs of piano transcriptions of his works. For my future reference, can somebody suggests recordings to consider ? >
What I meant to say is this :

I'm now focusing my listening into the master's solo harpsichord works transcribed to piano. Lately I came to realize that there are (many?) CDs of piano transcriptions of his works other than those for harpsichord. For my future reference, can somebody suggests recordings to consider ?

(So, the question still holds.)

Thanks again !

Warren Rogers wrote (July 13, 2001):
[To Rianto Pardede] Just a couple of thoughts. Do a search on Bach-Busoni and Bach-Liszt. That should give you a good start on who did some transcriptions. My first introduction to this genre was a recording of the Bach-Busoni Chaconne in d minor by (I believe) Alexander Borowsky, back when I was a teenager (mumble, mumble) years ago. It was love at first hearing.

I think Horowitz as well as Alfred Brendel (OT: if you like Beethoven you will love his piano playing!) have recorded some of the Busoni.

I'm not sure about this but I think there may be some recordings of Busoni himself that were made with the turn-of-the-century (19th/20th) system called Duo-Art. An amazing piece of technology in itself as it was able to record not only the notes but the dynamics of the playing.

Anyway, good hunting! It is a definitely worth it.

 

Bach Transcriptions - Weissenberg

Bob Lombard wrote (January 10, 2004):
Have been transferring an LP "Weissenberg - The Great Bach Transcriptions" from a 1975 Angel LP - S-37088. The recording was done in 1973 by Pathe Marconi in France. The stereo sound is excellent - with the qualification that some of the big sustained bass chords sound a little rattley. I'm guessing that's the piano rather than the engineering.

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - Hess
Nun komm'der Heiden Heiland - Busoni
Nun freut euch lieben, Christen g'mein - Busoni
Siciliano in g from Flute Sonata No. 2 in Eb - Lüstner
Prelude and Fugue in a - Liszt
Ich ruf'zu dir Herr Jesu, Christ, Choral Prelude - Busoni
Chaconne in d from Violin Partita No. 2 - Busoni
Toccata and Fugue in d, - Busoni
Prelude in b from the Clavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Freidemann Bach - Siloti
Couldn't find this on CD at ArchivMusic or MDT, didn't look at a French site.

Tremendous playing. I seem to remember dk saying something to the effect that when Weissenberg was good, he was very, very good. This is one of those times. That D minor toccata and fugue is an awesome display of controlled dynamics and pace - and skill. The order in which the pieces are presented (as listed above) is very effective too. Ending with the prelude for W.F. restores easy breathing.

Simon Roberts wrote (January 9, 2004):
Bob Lombard says...
< Have been transferring an LP "Weissenberg - The Great Bach Transcriptions" from a 1975 Angel LP - S-37088.
[snip]
Couldn't find this on CD at ArchivMusic or MDT, didn't look at a French site. >
It's available on French EMI. A wonderful disc, as you say.

Deacontde wrote (January 9, 2004):
[To Bob Lomba] This material has, I believe, been reissued on CD in France.

Bob Lombard wrote (January 10, 2004):
[To Simon Roberts] Excellent. I am gathering the distinct impression that French EMI is a much more discriminating reissuer than the British counterpart - as long as the LP version had a Pathe Marconi source. An attitude I am very happy with.

 

Bach - Busoni

Anne Smith wrote (February 10, 2004):
I am curious as to what list members think of the Busoni arrangements of Bach's works.

I grew up being suspicious of Busoni. For some insane reason my piano teacher purchased a WTC edited by Busoni and then told me how bad this edition was and I should not trust any Bach edited by Busoni. Well, the good part was I developed the habit of ignoring editorial markings!

I don't have a problem with people transcribing Bach's music. As has been mentioned several times on this list, Bach did enough of this himself. I can't see that he would disapprove. I just never liked any of the Busoni transcriptions I heard until this weekend. I borrowed "Vladimir Horowitz - A Reminiscence" from the library. On it he played Busoni's arrangement of the Chorale Prelude: Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ", BWV 639. It is beautiful. I can't get it out of my head. I may buy the score.

Stephen Benson wrote (February 10, 2004):
Anne Smith wrote:
< Busoni's arrangement of the Chorale Prelude: Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ", BWV 639. It is beautiful. I can't get it out of my head. I may buy the score. >
It's available for free at www.sheetmusicarchive.net., an online site that provides piano music that is in the public domain.

Anne Smith wrote (February 10, 2004):
[To Stephen Benson] Thanks Steve.

John Pike wrote (February 10, 2004):
[To Anne Smith] The only Busoni arrangement of Bach I have heard is that of the Chaconne. Didn't care for it at all. Various other composers made arrangements of the Chaconne for Piano, including Brahms, so that he could play it to himself when Joachim wasn't around to play it for him. They all new a good piece (the original) when they heard it! IMHO, the Chaconne is one of the highest pinnacles of composition.

 

Bach/Busoni piano transcriptions

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 17, 2005):
Anybody have a recommendation of a good recording of the complete Busoni transcriptions? I'm considering a purchase of the Pietro Spada set (two CDs, "Arts" label) unless somebody has a better recommendation.

On the web samples at
Amazon.com
Amazon.com

I'm not entirely happy with his treatment of dotted rhythms, and I wish to hear a bit more fire to the playing... with the understanding that some of these textures have some pretty awkward leaps in them for the player, and we're sort of lucky to be hearing all the notes more-or-less-accurately in the first place, let alone any rhythmic ardor....

I like John Browning's 1958 debut album in the two Busoni transcriptions on it (Nun komm, & In dir ist Freude); wish he'd eventually recorded more of them, but no. And the CD reissue of this has an interesting live 1959 recording of the C minor partita BWV 826, as a bonus.
Amazon.com

Thanks,

Uri Golomb wrote (April 17, 2005):
Bradley Lehman asked:
< Anybody have a recommendation of a good recording of the complete Busoni transcriptions? I'm considering a purchase of the Pietro Spada set (two CDs, "Arts" label) unless somebody has a better recommendation. >
I haven't heard Nikolai Demidenko's recordings yet, so I cannot offer my own opinion on them; but I know they are highly regarded. You can find further details (including samples) on
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/details/66566.asp (vol. 1) and
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/details/67324.asp (vol. 2). Hope this helps...

Aryeh Oron wrote (April 17, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman]
My favourite is Gunnar Johansen, who recorded the complete Bach-Busoni transcriptions on his own label 'Artist Direct' in the early 1950's (the common part of his complete Bach and complete Busoni keyboard works). AFAIK, it has never been reissued in CD form.

A more modern recording, much easier to get and quite enjoyable, is by Nikolai Demidenko on 2 Hyperion CD's:
CDA-66566 - recorded in Aug 1991
CDA-67324 - recorded in Aug 2001

Neil Halliday wrote (April 19, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
<"Anybody have a recommendation of a good recording of the complete Busoni transcriptions?".>
I wonder if we can all agree (from the examples pointed to, by Brad) that Browning's performance of "Nun komm" is much better than Spada's.

With the former, we have an expansive, expressive rendition that brings out the chorale tune over the rich bass harmonies; Spada's recording is fast and mostly soft, with the chorale tune failing to 'sing out' as in Browning's performance.

Some of the other tracks on the Spada CD seem to be very soft/quiet also (eg "I cry to thee").

 

Altarus new CD release: Busoni Fantasia contrappuntistica (Ogdon)

Quadruple Fugue wrote (September 14, 2005):
Altarus just released a new Double CD with recordings od John Ogdon playing Bach and Busoni. Here the Text from the Website:

NEW RELEASE! (September 2005)

AIR-CD-9070(2) [2 CD set]

Bach-Busoni ­ Toccata in C Major / 5 Organ Chorale Preludes / 'St Anne' Prelude and Fugue / Toccata and Fugue in D minor / Chaconne
Busoni ­ Fantasia contrappuntistica

John Ogdon, piano

For all that even now Busoni is (increasingly inexplicably) all too frequently thought of as three-fifths of the hyphenated Bach-Busoni, his marvellous Bach transcriptions, which set the standard that most other composers' efforts fail to live up to, do not get the attention that they so richly deserve (the notable exception being the
ubiquitous Chaconne - not that there's anything wrong with that). Anyway, John Ogdon, of all pianists perhaps the one most suited to the interpretation of Busoni's music (and a direct heir to the Busonian tradition, via his teacher, Egon Petri) recorded this selection of the transcriptions during the brief but spectacular renaissance of his career in the mid-1980s, before increasing ill-health led to his untimely death at the age of only 52. The hugely impressive Toccatas get heroic performances which evoke the sonorities of organ and orchestra, as one might expect, but the subtle and fragile slow movements and inward-looking Chorale Preludes display the astonishing range of Busoni's inspiration and the depth of Ogdon's interpretive powers. The great Fantasia contrappuntistica, perhaps Busoni's most visionary score (alongside Doktor Faust), here receives a performance
of extremes - this is a completely different recording from the one released by Altarus in 1(which is also about to be reissued). Busoni's ultimate tribute to the traditions of the past and the possibilities of the future has never sounded so compellingly like a summation of the highest aspirations of Western art, pulling together the strands of counterpoint that link so many facets of 20th-century civilisation.

[Review courtesy Records International]
http://www.altarusrecords.com

 

BCW: Bach Piano Transcriptions

Aryeh Oron wrote (August 4, 2007):
I am glad to inform you of another major addition to Bach Cantatas Website - Piano Transcriptions of Bach's Works and Bach-inspired Piano Works (PT).

I have started thinking about this project while working on the discographies of Bach's solo keyboard work and of their players. I have noticed that many artists played and recorded PT's as part of their Bach's repertoire. Therefore building discography pages for the PT's seemed as a natural continuation of the previous project. Then I have found out that there are numerous PT's, which have never been recorded. To have the most complete picture I thought that presenting ALL PT's, whether recorded or not, would cope with the guidelines of the BCW - as comprehensive, as accurate and as updated as possible.

The database of PT's includes all kinds of arrangements/transcriptions for piano/s - piano solo, piano 3 hands, piano 4 hands, piano 6 hands, 2 pianos, 2 pianos 8 hands, 3 pianos, etc. Not included are arrangements/transcriptions for piano and another instruments and/or piano-less.

The PT's are presented in two complementary views:

Composer/Arranger: each entry includes short bio (if found), page of PT's (listed by BWV Number), page/s of recordings (if applicable)
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT.htm

BWV Number: a page for each group of works: Cantatas, Other Vocal Works, Organ Works, Organ Chorale Preludes, etc. Each entry includes all PT's of the work (listed by Composer/Arranger)
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT-BWV.htm

If you look at the composer/arranger list, you may probably notice some familiar names (F. Busoni, F. Liszt, J. Brahms, L. Godowsky, W. Kempff, M. Hess, etc.), some surprising names (G. Bizet, H. Duparc, E. Granados, E. Humperdinck, etc.), musicologists (H. Riemann, H-J. Schulze, J. Westrup, P. Williams, C. Wolff, etc.), many performing pianists (M. Hambourg, A. Hewitt, S. Fiorentino, C. Katsaris, etc.) and many many long-forgotten names. Some of them were highly regarded in their times as composers, players, teachers, writers. We must cherish these persons, many of whom have contributed to presenting Bach's works to a wider public in an era where recorded forms were not available.

If you look at the BWV Number list, you may probably notice that almost every Bach's work has been transcribed for piano/s, some of them numerous times. I shall leave it to you finding which Bach's work is the most popular according to this parameter.

As an introduction to the world of Piano Transcriptions I chose the liner notes written by the late Kevin Oldham for his charming and beautifully played album "The Art of Piano Transcription" (VAI, 1995):

On Piano Transcriptions

"
For years transcriptions of Bach's organ works have been taboo. I was once told that an entire program of them would be musically artificial and very dull. "It would be like a dinner menu made up entirely of desserts," said a former friend. Many teachers, organists, and the like, claim that transcriptions are not authentic Bach because they have been "arranged." A few baroque musicologists, alias "crusty old barnacles," remark that these contraptions are not in the baroque style; they are always played too heavily and with excessive amounts of damper pedal. Some of those reasons are quite valid. It is the often-heard, heavy-handed and over-pedaled approach that makes such transcriptions predictable and unenlightening.

The late organ virtuoso Virgil Fox was praised for his articulation of Bach on the modem pipe-organ. Like the late Glenn Gould at the modem piano, Fox played Bach with a complex, phrased, and articulated approach that clearly displayed the intentions of the composer. Individual voices could be heard in the most intricate of fugues, and rhythms were sharp and defined. Keeping these artists in mind, I have begun my approach to some old and new transcriptions of Bach's organ works. Represented here are transcriptions by two of the most celebrated transcribers of Bach - Liszt and Busoni - and two by myself and T. Ernest Nichols, a pupil and exponent of Mr. Fox.

The two Bach-Busoni chorale preludes are not typical Busoni transcriptions: their notes remain close to the actual organ score. Both pieces cleverly juggle the chorale tune with the obbligato line, using octaves to imitate the organ pedals. I have placed the four-part chorales, the basis of each chorale prelude, before the transcriptions.

Liszt intended his transcriptions of Bach to produce an effect similar to hearing the actual organ piece. From a set of six transcriptions, the Prelude and Fugue in A minor offers an ingenious arrangement of the entire organ score for two hands alone; no feet allowed here. Like the Nichols-Oldham transcription of "The Gigue" Fugue and the Prelude and Fugue in D major, the Liszt transcriptions are totally note-for-note Bach-no added harmonies. Why then shouldn't they be approached, since suitably arranged for piano, like any other keyboard works of Bach? We know that Bach did not write for the piano, yet his clavichord and harpsichord pieces are played on the modem piano all the time. Hardly a note is ever changed. Granted the textures of these transcriptions are a bit more 19th century than 17th or 18th, but when played in the baroque style, they are wonderful imitations of the pipe organ. Isn't Bach's Italian Concerto, written for the harpsichord and now often played on the piano, a wonderful imitation of a concerto grosso played by a string orchestra? What about Bach's arrangements of Vivaldi's violin concertos for clavier and orchestra? Was Bach opposed to transcriptions? If an excellent performance of an excellent transcription can be found, then it should be I played. One last point about these arrangements of Bach's music: the Nichols-Oldham transcription of the Sinfonia in D is directly descended from the organ-orchestral score of Bach's Cantata BWV 29 - except for a touch of Rachmaninov thrown in just to spice it up a bit.

Gradually the world became a smaller place. Transcriptions became obsolete, certainly not in vogue, and if ever played, only as an encore. Today's pianists are taking a second look at these long-neglected war horses. Audiences are finding them a welcome relief to the over-played, mainstream concert repertoire. The windows are reopening on a style of playing that had all but vanished: unabashed romanticis, imaginative and revolutionary technique, and a developed, personal style."

If you are aware of a PT not listed in these pages, or if you find an error or missing information, please inform me, either through the Bach Mailing Lists or to my personal e-mail address.

 

OT: piano transcriptions of bach

Nicholas Johnson wrote (March 1, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski] I have just come across an old posting where Aryeh Oron has compiled a very interesting and long list of piano transcriptions of Bach at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT.htm

Just thought it might be of interest to people who might have missed it at the time.

 

BWV Recent additions to the Piano Transcriptions section

Aryeh Oron wrote (March 3, 2011):
Hi BRML/BMML members,

The section of Piano Transcriptions on the BCW contains also Bach-inspired piano works. I would like to point out some recent interesting additions.

Dmitri Shostakovich: 24 Preludes & Fugues, Op. 87 (1959-1951)
The 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87 is a set of 24 piano pieces, one in each of the major and minor keys of the chromatic scale. While the musical style and ideas are Shostakovich's own, it follows the form of J.S. Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, written some 200 years earlier.
Each piece is in two parts: a prelude; and a fugue woven from a musical idea taken from the prelude. The pieces vary in pace, length and complexity (for example, Fugue No. 13 in F-sharp major is in five voices, but Fugue No. 9 in E major is in only two voices). Unlike Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, in which the pieces are arranged in parallel major/minor pairs ascending the chromatic scale (C major, C minor, C sharp major, C sharp minor etc.), Shostakovich's set proceeds in relative major/minor pairs around the circle of fifths: first C major, then A minor, G major, E minor, D major, B minor, and so on, ending with D minor. (Frédéric Chopin's set of 24 Preludes, Op. 28, is organised in the same way, as are the earlier sets of preludes by Joseph Christoph Kessler and Johann Nepomuk Hummel.)
References to and quotations from Bach's cycle appear in many of the later pieces. There are also many references and musical ideas taken from Shostakovich's own work. The complete work takes about two and a half hours to play.
The complete work was written between October 10, 1950 and February 25, 1951. Once finished, Shostakovich dedicated the work to Nikolayeva, who undertook the public premiere in Leningrad on December 23, 1952. Once finished, Shostakovich dedicated the work to Tatiana Nikolayeva, who undertook the public premiere in Leningrad on December 23, 1952.
Recordings of the Complete Set:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT-Shostakovich-Rec1.htm
Recordings of individual Preludes & Fugues:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT-Shostakovich-Rec2.htm

In 1932 five composers contributed their works for the collective composition titled “Hommage à J.S. Bach”:
1. Albert Roussel: Prélude et Fugue, for piano, Op. 46
2. Alfredo Casella: Due Ricercari sul nome B-A-C-H, for piano, Op. 52:
3. Francis Poulenc: Valse-improvisation sur le nom de BACH, for piano, FP 62
4. Gian-Francesco Malipiero, Prélude à une fugue imaginaire, for piano
5. Arthur Honegger: Prélude, arioso et fughette sur le nom de BACH, for piano, H 81
Recording pages:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT-Roussel-Rec.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT-Casella-Rec.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT-Poulenc-Rec.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT-Malipiero-GF-Rec.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT-Honegger-Rec.htm

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Six Variations on the theme B-A-C-H, for piano, Op. 10 (1878)
Recordings: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT-Rimsky-Korsakov-Rec.htm

 

BWV: Bach-Busoni: Piano Transcriptions & Bach-inspired Piano Works - Revised & Updated Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (July 13, 2011):
The discography pages of the Piano Transcriptions & Bach-inspired Piano Works by Ferruccio Busoni on the BCW have been revised & updated:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT-Busoni.htm
The discography is arranged chronologically by recording date, a page per a decade, and includes 249 different recordings.
If you have any correction, addition or completion of missing details, please inform me.

 

BCW: Sets of 24 Preludes & Fugues

Aryeh Oron wrote (September 22, 2011):
J.S. Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier in all of the 24 major and minor keys (WTC; popularly known as the ‘48’) was clearly modelled on Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer's Ariadne musica, a set of 20 short preludes and fugues in a chromatic key order ascending from C to B. Bach adopted an identical overall plan, adding the 5 keys missing from J.C.F. Fischer's set. Numerous thematic correspondences further attest to the importance of the older composer's example. Ariadne first appeared in 1702, but it seems likely that Bach knew it only from the 1715 reissue: preliminary work on Part 1 of the '48' was probably carried out during the period 1715-1720. J.S. Bach's two books of preludes and fugues - the WTC were completed in 1722 and 1744 respectively. J.S. Bach.

After J.S. Bach's death in 1750 the '48' continued to be studied by keyboard and composition students, particularly in central Germany. The partly subliminal influence of the work on J.S. Bach's sons should not be underestimated. But the decisive moment in its posthumous history arrived when Mozart was introduced to it by Baron van Swieten in 1782. Thereafter it influenced the contrapuntal writing of countless composers and it has formed a fundamental part of the training of virtually every musician in keyboard playing, composition, analysis, and general musicianship.

Many composers have written a set of preludes & fugues in most or all of the 24 major and minor keys. The use of this format is generally inspired by J.S. Bach’s WTC.

I have created a page on the BCW listing all known compositions of complete sets of preludes & fugues, most of them are naturally for keyboard instrument:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Arran/L-WTC.htm

Over 30 composes are listed, the most prolific of them is Niels Viggo Bentzon (1919-2000), who wrote 14 sets of P&F during a period of four decades.
For the sake of completeness, the page also contains all known complete sets of preludes (or other works) without fugues.
At the bottom of this page you will find links to pages in the Bach in Arts section of the BCW, presenting works of art inspired by the WTC.

If you are aware of a set missing from the list or have any other correction/suggestion, please inform me.

 

OT: one piano, four hands arrangements of great Bach works

Bruce Simonson wrote (April 17, 2012):
A friend of mine and I just discovered we share joint passions, namely, piano duets, and Bach. Probably not in that order. :)

I figured I'd prevail on the list, for recommendations of editions of JSB for 1 piano, four hands. I imagine there's a lot out there, and that much of it might be of marginal quality. However, I'm willing to bet there's some really great transcriptions of the organ preludes and fugues, for example, that are magnificent.

Anyone have a set of suggestions? We're having fun, even just with the WTC, and arguing about who's going to take the middle fugue voices. And occasionally doubling stuff in octaves in the preludes.

But, there's just gotta be some really good stuff out there, huh?

PS: We're not able to try the 2 piano stuff, since we don't have dual keyboain the same space. Besides, 1p4h is more fun than 2p4h, IMO.

PPS: We're competent, but not accomplished players. Well, actually, she's much more accomplished than I'll ever be. :)

Anthony Kozar wrote (April 18, 2012):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< A friend of mine and I just discovered we share joint passions, namely, piano duets, and Bach. Probably not in that order. :)
I figured I'd prevail on the list, for recommendations of editions of JSB for 1 piano, for hands. >
I can't point you to specific print editions, but I have a list of Bach transcriptions by major composers of which I am looking for recordings. There's lots of stuff for piano, but the only 4-hand piano of which I am aware is Max Reger's transcriptions of the Brandenburgs & Orchestral Suites. I am sure those would be a lot of fun. (I've tried playing some of the Brandenburgs by myself from full score, but it's not easy!)

Also, Busoni, Reger, and Liszt have all done difficult transcriptions of some of the major organ works (such as BWV 552, 542, & 548). I'm sure mere mortals would need four hands to play those! ;-)

Thanks for bringing up an interesting topic. I hope there will be more responses because I am interested to know too! ^_^

Aryeh Oron wrote (April 18, 2012):
[To Bruce Simonson] There is a special section on the BCW dedicated to piano transcriptions/arrangements of J.S. Bach's work & Bach-inspired piano works (PT): http://bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT.htm
You can find there for each arranger: bio, list of works & all known recordings.
There are also lists of all the PT's by BWV number: http://bach-cantatas.com/NVD/PT-BWV.htm
The section includes all kind of combinations: 1 piano 2 hands, 1 piano left hand, 1 piano 4 hands, 1 piano 6 hands, 2 pianos 4 hands, etc. I believe this is the most comprehensive list of its kind available on the web.

Of course, if anybody is aware of PT's (or their recordings) not presented in this section, please inform me.

I hope it helps.

 

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Last update: ýAugust 21, 2012 ý10:11:49