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E. Power Biggs (Pedal Harpsichord)

Bach's Trio Sonatas on Pedal Harpsichord

1

The Six Trio Sonatas

Trio Sonatas, BWV 525-530

E. Power Biggs (Pedal Harpsichord)

Sony Essential Classics

1966

CD / TT 74:16

Donald Satz wrote (April 4, 2002):
The E. Power Biggs recording of Bach's six Trio Sonatas needs little introduction. Recorded by Biggs in 1966, the performances have been a staple of the CBS/Sony discography. These six sonatas are usually performed on organ, but they excellently accomodate the pedal harpsichord. Generally thought of as a practice instrument for organists, the pedal harpsichord becomes an ideal performing tool with E. Power Biggs at the helm.

If I had to get by with only one version of the Trio Sonatas, the Biggs would easily get my vote. These works do not possess the pathos, majesty, and power of many of Bach's other organ compositions. Frankly, no artist except for Biggs illuminates for me the offsetting advantages that reside in the Trio Sonatas. These following features are the ones I most appreciate:

1. The Biggs readings are imbued with an exceptional blend of dignity and grace.

2. There's an abundance of joyful music in the six sonatas, and nobody delivers a purer quality of it than Biggs.

3. The detail is stunning throughout, as the three voices seem to come from three different instruments. At the same time, the unison and comraderie of the three voices is complete. The net result is heightened interest and diversity.

4. Pacing, intervals, and articulation are made to sound perfect from Biggs. The best recordings give a listener the feeling that the performer has found the ideal presentation of the music, and Biggs is in this category.

5. Although the sound is over 30 years old, it is splendid and compares well to contemporary recordings. Unlike with many harpsichord recordings, the Biggs is very easy on the ears.

Don's Conclusions: A great artist performs Bach on a highly distinctive instrument. Although the usual instrument of choice is the organ, the Biggs performances are an essential acquisition for one's music library. I personally find them the best versions of all which have been recorded. Many of you have likely had a copy for decades. For others, there's no time like the present to indulge your appetite for one of the outstanding Bach recordings of the 20th century.


Trio Sonatas BWV 525-530: Trio Sonatas – Biggs | Trio Sonatas – Johanssen & Lippincott | Trio Sonatas – London Baroque

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Last update: ýJanuary 18, 2003 ý13:33:28