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William Porter, John Butt (Organ)
New JSB Organ Recordings

1

One of a Kind

Toccata and Fugue in d-minor, BWV 565
Herzlich thut mich verlangen, BWV 727
Valet will ich dir geben, BWV 736
Prelude and Fugue in e-minor, BWV 533
Erbarm' dich mein, o Herre Gott, BWV 721
Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend' , BWV 709
Prelude and , Fugue in e-minor, BWV 548
An Wasserflüssen Babylon, BWV 653b
O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig
Passacaglia in c-minor (BWV 582).

William Porter (Organ)

Loft Recordings

1999

CD / TT: 71:30

 

R-2

Bach: four Toccatas and Fugues; Schübler Chorales

Toccata & Fugue for organ in D minor ("Dorian"), BWV 538 [12:57]
Toccata & Fugue for organ in F major, BWV 540 [13:33]
Toccata, Adagio, & Fugue for organ in C major, BWV 564 [14:04]
Toccata & Fugue for organ in D minor, BWV 565 [8:18]
Six Schübler chorales BWV 645-650 [4:07, 1:53, 3:02, 2:36, 2:50, 3:34]

John Butt (Organ) [Organ of Trinity College, Cambridge]

Harmonia Mundi France

Jan 2000

CD / TT: 67:02

Recorded at the Trinity College, Cambridge, England.
Review: Bach Organ Toccatas & Schubler Chorales from John Butt
Buy this album at:
CD: Amazon.com

Michael McShan wrote (October 19, 2001):
Donald Satz wrote:
< The distinctiveness of various organs is certainly a personal consideration. With some organ recordings, I'm just awed by the organ's sounds; these are usually organs which were built hundreds of years ago, and the performer has much to do with making it work. With Bowyer, I never get that 'awed' feeling. >
Two recent Bach organ recordings I can recommend for both interesting
performances and wonderful instruments:

[1] BACH: One of a Kind - William Porter, Organist
Loft Recordings LRCD 1025 (see http://www.loftrecordings.com/CDs/lrcd1025.htm )

William Porter is professor of organ at the New England Conservatory and a well-known specialist in the music of the North German Baroque. In this recording he play the magnificent new instrument at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA, built by Paul Fritts. I had an opportunity to attend a concert using this organ last year, and it is visually and sonically stunning - perhaps one of the best instruments for performing Bach in North America. The recording on the Loft label, a small recording company operated as a labor of love by Seattle harpsichordist and organist Roger Sherman. His releases are all first rate, using the latest 24 bit technology. Besides this recording, Loft also has a number of other excellent Baroque organ recordings featuring JSB and his contemporaries. Besides Porter, Loft features a number of recordings of the great German organist and early keyboard authority, Harald Vogel.

The compositions included on this disk are: Toccata and Fugue in d-minor (BWV 565); Herzlich thut mich verlangen (BWV 727); Valet will ich dir geben (BWV 736); Prelude and Fugue in e-minor (BWV 533); Erbarm' dich mein, o Herre Gott (BWV 721); Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend' (BWV 709); Prelude and Fugue in e-minor (BWV 548); An Wasserflüssen Babylon (BWV 653b); O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig; Passacaglia in c-minor (BWV 582).

Familiar and unfamiliar works are mixed together on this disk, and Porter plays them with understanding and emotional commitment. He is not afraid to completely rethink familiar works. For example, the e minor prelude (BWV 548; the pair to the "wedge fugue") is generally registered with a massive plenum; Porter plays it on a single 8' principal. On paper, this sounds completely out of character for this piece and yet it works extremely well, bringing out the tragic nature of this prelude. The choral preludes are particularly lovely, beautifully registered and approached gentle lyricism. Organ recordings (especially from smaller labels) are often ignored by the mainstream reviewers, but this one is attracting a bit of attention. Here is part of the review from Fanfare Magazine: "For those who derive the greatest satisfaction in concentrating deeply on Bach's harpsichord scores, or the partitas and sonatas for solo violin or cello, this performance carries the same allure."

This disk is highly recommended as one of the best single Bach organ recording I've heard in quite a while. An organ recording for Bach lovers.


[2] Six Schübler Chorale Preludes and the four Toccatas and Fugues /
John Butt, Organ
Harmonia Mundi (Fra) - #907249

John Butt is one of the leading Bach scholars around today; however, unlike many musicologists, Butt combines his acumen with a formidable keyboard technique. This disk features some of Bach's best known compositions for organ: four toccatas (Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue for organ in C major, BWV 564, Toccata and Fugue for organ in D minor, BWV 565, Toccata and Fugue for organ in D minor ("Dorian"), BWV 538, and Toccata and Fugue for organ in F major, BWV 540) and the six Schübler chorales BWV 645-650. Whereas Porter is often lyrical in his approach to Bach, Butt is frankly virtuostic - the well-known Toccata in d minor (BWV 565) is played with the utmost fire. The organ is by the English firm of Walker and is well-suited to this music, having a wonderful sound that is often airy and never shrill. I like Butt's approach in the chorale preludes less than in the free works, but overall this is an excellent recording.

If you only want to buy one CD, get the Porter... but I would save my pennies and get both.

 

Toccatas for Organ: Organ Toccatas - J. Butt [Satz] | Organ Toccatas - J. Butt [McShan] | Organ Toccatas - Marlow

John Butt: Short Biography | Dunedin Consort | Recordings of Vocal Works | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Discussions of Vocal Recordings:
BWV 232 - J. Butt | BWV 244 - J. Butt
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Bach Organ Toccatas & Schubler Chorales from John Butt | New JSB Organ Recordings
Books:
Bach Interpretation: Articulation Marks in the Primary Sources of J. S. Bach | The Cambridge Companion to Bach

Instrumental Works: Recordings, Reviews & Discussions - Main Page | Order of Discussion
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Last update: June 1, 2010 09:31:17