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Partitas BWV 825-827

Erik Feller (Organ)

Bach’s Partitas for Clavier

K-1

J.S. Bach: Partitas pur clavier - Intégrale, Vol. 1

Partitas Nos. 1-3 BWV 825-827 [14:59, 20:59, 17:25]

Erik Feller (Organ) [Grand orgue numérique - Chapelle Laënnec - Paris]

Arion

Jul 1999

CD / TT: 53:13

Recorded at La Chapelle de l'Hopital Laennec a Paris, France. World premiere recording on organ.
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

Donald Satz wrote (September 12, 2002):
Although Bach did not intend his clavier works to be performed on an instrument as large as the organ, there have been plenty of organists who have given it their best shot. French organists are particularly fond of entering this repertoire, and that may be a problem of sorts. The French organ can be a trial in Bach's organ music, never mind Bach music for the smaller harpsichord and clavichord. French organs tend to have a gradiose design of life and can drown out the essence of Bach's music. My listening experiences tell me that the organist needs to be ever so careful about the registrations used to insure that the results do not sound like a Bach/Franck collaboration.

Erik Feller, born and raised in France, performs on the Organ of Chapelle de L'Hopital Laennec in Paris. Listed on the cd cover as Volume 1, the disc covers the first three keyboard Partitas: BWV 825, 826, and 827. With less than 60 minutes of music on the disc, another Partita could have been included; however, that would have left only two Partitas for Volume 2 (if there is, will ever be, or should ever be a Volume 2).

The most interesting feature of this Arion disc is the cover art. It depicts a host of ghoulish creatures all connected to one another with each individual figure having unique physical properties, and I find it fascinating to examine each of the little fellas and the myriad of connections.

The music-making isn't bad at all. Yes, the French Organ is miles away from Bach's soundworld, and Feller tends to be a little boring in that he doesn't care to vary tempo or loudness. On the plus side, he does like to vary registrations and octaves in the repeats, and he often changes registrations from first to second sections. Further, some of his registrations, although a bit outrageous, are quite appealing and well in line with the cover art.

The fast movements are Feller's best moments, and there are many of them; it shows in his registrations and momentum. Slower movements are enjoyable, but Feller does not dig as deeply as the best Bach keyboard artists. I can't say that any movements are memorable except for the Allemande of BWV 826 where Feller has great command of the music's lines with an exceptional drive and determination.

Don's Conclusions: It is impossible to project how the Feller performances will wear over time; there is novelty and surprise which generally tend to fade with repeated listenings. Although possessing some admirable traits, Feller clearly isn't in the top rank of Bach performing artists. With these views in mind, I'd suggest sampling before buying. If you don't think well of Bach's keyboard works on organ, or particularly on a French organ, there is nothing that Feller offers that might change your mind. As I said earlier, the cover art is the star of the show. I am attracted to the disc, but I don't see myself listening to it soon or often.

 

Partitas BWV 825 830:
Comparative Review:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
Reviews of Individual Recordings:
Partitas - P. Anderszewski [McElhearn] | Partitas - P. Anderszewski [Satz] | Partitas - L. Corolan & I. Kipnis | Partitas - E. Feller 1 | Partitas - E. Parmentier | Partitas - A. Rangell | GV & Partitas - K. Richter | Partitas - B. Roberts | Partitas - S. Ross | Partitas - S. Sager | Partitas - C. Sheppard | Partitas - J.L. Steuerman | Partitas - M. Suzuki [McElhearn] | Partitas - M. Suzuki [Henderson] | Partitas - C. Tiberghien | Partitas - R. Troeger | Partitas - B. Verlet | Partitas - K. Weiss | Rübsam - Part 2 | Rübsam - Part 3

Erik Feller: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Bach’s Partitas for Clavier

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Last update: żOctober 31, 2006 ż22:09:44