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Bach Cantatas Website - Newsletters
Year 2007

The Bach Cantatas Website celebrates its 6th anniversary

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 4, 2007):
The Bach Cantatas Website (BCW) was launched in its current form and address on December 30, 2000.

The BCW is located at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com
This a comprehensive site covering all aspects of J.S. Bach's cantatas and his other vocal works. The BCW contains discussions and detailed discographies of each cantata and other vocal works, performers and general topics. The BCW also includes texts and translations, scores, music examples, articles and interviews, and short biographies of more than 3,600 performers of Bach vocal works (singers, conductors, vocal and instrumental groups) and players of his keyboard works. There are also other relevant resources such as a discussion of the Lutheran church year, database of chorale texts & melodies and their authors, reviews and discussions of Bach's non-vocal works, terms and abbreviations, schedule of concerts of Bach's vocal works, guide to Bach tour, thousands of links to other relevant resources. The BCW is an international collective project, being compiled from various postings about the subject, most of which have been sent to the Bach Mailing Lists.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank the numerous contributors to the discussions in the Bach Mailing Lists and some other lists, whose messages are compiled into the pages of the BCW. Their names are mentioned accordingly above each quoted message. I would also like to thank the many Bach lovers who have sent me material to be included in the BCW, such as articles, translation of cantata texts, recording details, biographies, photos, music examples, links to other sites, etc. Their names are mentioned accordingly in the relevant pages.

There have been many improvements & additions to the BCW last year. I would not like to repeat them here. If you are interested, please take a look at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Newsletter-2006.htm

The number of visits at the BCW has been grown up significantly, and almost doubled over the past year. During the last couple months the number of DAILY visits is more than 12,000!. More statistics of the BCW can be found at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Statistics.htm

I am encouraged by the positive feedback the BCW is getting from all over the world. Many of the feedback messages from last year can be read at the pages: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/About-2006.htm

I continue to look forward to receiving your comments (corrections, suggestions, improvements, etc.) about the BCW. The instructions how to send me comments, appear in the following page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/How.htm

I wish you all another Great and Happy Bach Year!

 

The French Suites BWV 812-817 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 18, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's keyboard works (I&S, Duets, ES, WTC 1, GV), I have added now a comprehensive discography of the French Suites BWV 812-817 (FS). AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this group of works

As previously, I have used every possible source I could find, including web-catalogues, web-stores, web-magazines, artists' websites, labels' websites and other websites, as well as various printed catalogues and my personal collection.

You can find the list of recordings of the FS split into several pages, a page for a decade, through the main page of BWV 812-817 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV812-817.htm
This page includes, as usual, internal links to reviews & discussions, as well as external links to other pages about this work.

The list includes both recordings of complete sets (all 6 suites) and recordings of individual suites. Except of a few cases, recordings of individual movements are not included. All in all, 98 albums with the FS are listed. As in previous discographies in the BCW, each recording is listed only once. All the issues of each recording are presented together. If a performer has recorded the FS more than once, the info includes also the recording number.

Please also notice that for most albums there is a link at the cell of the album title. This link takes you to the page of the soloist, in which you can find other Bach recordings by this artist.

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

 

The Neglected Suites BWV 818-824 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 24, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's keyboard works (I&S, Duets, ES, FS, WTC 1, GV), I have added now a comprehensive discography of the group of Suites BWV 818-824. AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this group of works

As previously, I have used every possible source I could find, including web-catalogues, web-stores, web-magazines, artists' websites, labels' websites and other websites, as well as various printed catalogues and my personal collection.

Since these works are relatively neglected, I compiled all the known recordings (35 albums) into a single page. You can find them all through the main page of BWV 818-824 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV818-824.htm
This page includes as usual internal links to reviews. I have found neither previous discussions in the Bach ML's, nor other websites in which these works are discussed.

If you are aware of a recording of the neglected suites not listed in the discography, or if you find an error or missing information, please inform me, either through the BRML or to my personal e-mail address.

 

The Partitas BWV 825-830 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 31, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's keyboard works (Inventions & Sinfonias, Duets, English Suites, French Suites, Neglected Suites, WTC 1, Goldberg Variations), I have added now a comprehensive discography of the Partitas BWV 825-830. AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this group of works

As previously, I have used every possible source I could find, including web-catalogues, web-stores, web-magazines, artists' websites, labels' websites and other websites, as well as various printed catalogues and my personal collection.

You can find the list of recordings of the Partitas split into several pages, a page for a decade, through the main page of BWV 825-830 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV825-830.htm
This page includes, as usual, internal links to reviews & discussions, as well as external links to other pages about these works.

The list includes both recordings of complete sets (all 6 Partitas) and recordings of individual Partitas. Except of a few cases, recordings of individual movements are not included. All in all, 170 albums with the Partitas are listed. As in previous discographies in the BCW, each recording is listed only once. All the issues of each recording are presented together. If a performer has recorded the Partitas more than once, the info includes also the recording number.

I have also compiled all the discussions of the Partitas from 2001 onwards (about 150 messages). The discussions are arranged chronologically. If the recordings of the Partitas by a certain performer are discussed, they are compiled into a dedicated page. Links to the discussion pages can be found at the starting page above, and at the recording pages.

Please also notice that for most albums there is a link at the cell of the album title. This link takes you to the page of the soloist, in which you can find other Bach recordings by this artist.

With such popular woras the Partitas, it seems unavoidable that I have missed some (or many) recordings of them. If you are aware of a recording of the Partitas not listed in these pages, or if you find an error or missing information, please inform me, either through the BRML or to my personal e-mail address.

 

The French Overture BWV 831 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 3, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's keyboard works (Inventions & Sinfonias, Duets, English Suites, French Suites, Neglected Suites, Partitas, WTC 1, Goldberg Variations), I have added now a comprehensive discography of the French Overture BWV 831 (= FO). AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this work

As previously, I have used every possible source I could find, including web-catalogues, web-stores, web-magazines, artists' websites, labels' websites and other websites, as well as various printed catalogues and my personal collection.

You can find the list of recordings of the FO split into several pages, a page for a decade, through the main page of BWV 831 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV831.htm
This page includes, as usual, internal links to reviews & discussions, as well as external links to other pages about this work.

The list includes only complete recordings of the FO. Recordings of individual movements are not included. All in all, 71 albums with the FO are listed. As in previous discographies in the BCW, each recording is listed only once. All the issues of each recording are presented together. If a performer has recorded the FO more than once, the info includes also the recording number.

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

 

Neglected Keyboard Works BWV 832-845 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 4, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's keyboard works (Inventions & Sinfonias, Duets, English Suites, French Suites, Neglected Suites, Partitas, French Overture, WTC 1, Goldberg Variations), I have added now a comprehensive discography of the various keyboard works BWV 832-845. Many of these works are doubtful or have been found since the BGA was published as composed by others. This is most probably the main cause for their relative neglect. AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this group of works

As previously, I have used every possible source I could find, including web-catalogues, web-stores, web-magazines, artists' websites, labels' websites and other websites, as well as various printed catalogues and my personal collection.

Since these works are relatively neglected, I compiled all the known recordings (20 albums) into a single page. You can find them all through the main page of BWV 832-845 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV832-845.htm
This page includes, as usual, internal links to reviews. I have found neither previous discussions in the Bach ML's, nor other websites in which these works are discussed.

If you are aware of a recording of these works not listed in the discography, or if you find an error or missing information, please inform me, either through the BRML or to my personal e-mail address.

 

WTC 2 - Discography, facts and questions

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 5, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's keyboard works (Inventions & Sinfonias BWV 772-801, Duets BWV 802-805, English Suites BWV 806-811, French Suites BWV 812-817, Neglected Suites BWV 818-824, Partitas BWV 825-830, French Overture BWV 831, Various Keyboard Works 832-845, WTC 1 BWV 846-869, Goldberg Variations BWV 988), I have added now a comprehensive discography of the Well-Tempered Clavier Book II, BWV 870-893 (WTC 2).

As previously, I have used every possible source I could find, including web-catalogues, web-stores, web-magazines, artists' websites, labels' websites and other websites, as well as various printed catalogues and my personal collection. The only web discography of WTC 2 I found was at the University of Albany and it is actually only a list with many items missing. I believe that this is the first time such an attempt to present a comprehensive discography of WTC 2 is made, at least on the web.

You can find the list of recordings of the WTC 2 split into several pages, a page for a decade, through the main page of BWV 870-893 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV870-893.htm

All in all, 83 complete (or near complete) recordings of WTC 2 are listed. As in previous discographies in the BCW, each recording is listed only once. All the issues of each recording are presented together. If a performer has recorded WTC 2 more than once, the info includes also the recording number.

This page above includes also internal links to reviews and to other websites. I have not yet compiled the discussions of WTC (some hundreds messages of this work in my archive). It would take some time, and there are other projects of higher priority.

If you are aware of a recording of WTC 2 not listed in the discography, or if you find an error or missing information, please inform me, either through the BRML or to my personal e-mail address.

Some interesting facts (and questions):

A. The youngest player to record the complete WTC 2 is the 10 years old Albert Wong. See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV870-893-Rec7.htm [74]
I have not heard this recording. Have any of you? He should be 17 today. I wonder how his career has developed since.

B. Several players have recorded WTC 2 twice, most of them pianists: Rosalyn Tureck (1952-1953, 1976), Robert Riefling (Mid 1950's, 1985), Helmut Walcha (1961, 1974), Joao Carlos Martins (1964, 1983), Zuzana Ruzickova (1971, 1995), Tatiana Nikolayeva (1973, 1984), Takahiro Sonoda (1973, 1992), Angela Hewitt (1998-1990, 2000 - 2nd part on DVD).
I heard 2 recordings only by Hewitt, who is in a class of her own in relation to the other 3 pianists who took part in the DVD. Have any of you heard 2 recordings by the same player?

C. There are several recordings of WTC 2 on organ: Louis Thiry (1975), Daniel Chorzempa (1994 - part), Bernard Lagacé (1996), John Wells (1998 & 2002), Christoph Bossert (1999), Robert Levin (2000 - part), Frédéric Desenclos (2001).
Except of Chorzempa's, which is a mixed bag, I have not heard any of these recordings. Have you?

D. Edwin Fischer was the first to record WTC 2 (1933-1934). In the 15 something years following this historic recording, no other player dared to record it. Do you think that this recording should hold its place at the top in comparison with the other 82 renditions that have been recorded since?

E. What are your favourite recordings of WTC 2 on piano and on harpsichord?

 

Preludes & Fugues BWV 894-902 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 7, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's keyboard works, I have added now a comprehensive discography of the group of Preludes & Fugues BWV 894-902. AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this group of works

As previously, I have used every possible source I could find, including web-catalogues, web-stores, web-magazines, artists' websites, labels' websites and other websites, as well as various printed catalogues and my personal collection.

Since these works are not often recorded, I compiled all the known recordings (47 albums) into a single page. You can find them all through the main page of BWV 894-902 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV894-902.htm
This page includes, as usual, internal links to reviews and discussions.

If you are aware of a recording of these works not listed in the discography, or if you find an error or missing information, please inform me, either through the BRML or to my personal mail address.

 

Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue BWV 903 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 13, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's keyboard works, I have added now a comprehensive discography of one of the most popular works in the canon of Bach's keyboard works - Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue BWV 903. AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this work

As previously, I have used every possible source I could find, including web-catalogues, web-stores, web-magazines, artists' websites, labels' websites and other websites, as well as various printed catalogues and my personal collection.

The recordings of the Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue are split into several pages, a page for a decade. Recordings of the early version BWV 903a, as well as of arrangements & transcriptions of this work were put in separate pages. You can find them all through the main page of BWV 903 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV903.htm

All in all, 184 recordings of the Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue are listed. Each recording is listed only once. All the issues of each recording are presented together. If a performer has recorded the Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue more than once, the info includes also the recording number.

If you are aware of a recording of the Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue not listed in these pages, or if you find an error or missing information, please inform me, either through the BRML or to my personal e-mail address.

 

Fantasias & Fugues BWV 904-909 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 21, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's keyboard works, I have added now a comprehensive discography of the group of Fantasias & Fugues BWV 904-909. AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this group of works

As previously, I have used every possible source I could find, including web-catalogues, web-stores, web-magazines, artists' websites, labels' websites and other websites, as well as various printed catalogues and my personal collection.

The recordings of the Fantasias & Fugues are split into several pages, a page for a decade. You can find all 80 albums with these works through the main page of BWV 904-909 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV904-909.htm

If you are aware of a recording of these works not listed in the discography, or if you find an error or missing information, please inform me, either through the BRML or to my personal e-mail address.

 

Toccatas BWV 910-916 - Revised Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 23, 2007):
In February 2004, I informed you of a list I had compiled of the complete recordings of the Toccatas BWV 910-916. The list included then 106 albums. During the past three years I have gathered info of additional recordings, using every possible source I including web-catalogues, web-stores, web-magazines, artists' websites, labels' websites and other websites, as well as various printed catalogues and my personal collection. Many BRML members and other Bach fans have supplied me info of unfamiliar recordings. Their names are mentioned as contributors at the bottom of the relevant pages. I am sincerely grateful to them all.

You can find the list of complete recordings of Toccatas split into several pages, a page for a decade, starting at the page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV910-916.htm
The list includes both recordings of all 7 Toccatas and recordings of individual Toccatas. Except of a few cases, recordings of individual movements are not included. All in all, 152 albums with the Toccatas are now listed. As in previous discographies in the BCW, each recording is listed only once. All the issues of each recording are presented together. If a performer has recorded the Toccatas more than once, the info includes also the recording number.

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

 

Fantasias & Freludes BWV 917-923 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 27, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's keyboard works, I have added now a comprehensive discography of the group of Fantasias & Preludes BWV 917-923. AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this group of works

All the known recordings of these works (41 albums) are presented in a single page. You can find them all through the main page of BWV 917-923 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV917-923.htm

If you are aware of a recording of these works not listed in the discography, or if you find an error or missing information, please inform me, either through the BRML or to my personal e-mail address.

 

Concertos for Solo Keyboard BWV 972-987 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 28, 2007):
Bach arranged 7 concertos by other composers for organ (BWV 592-598), 17 for solo harpsichord (BWV 972-987 & BWV 592a), and one for 4 harpsichords, strings and continuo.

Following previous discographies of Bach's keyboard works, I have added now a comprehensive discography of the concertos for solo keyboard BWV 972-987. AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this group of works.

The short introduction to these works is extracted from Michael Talbot's article in OCC (OUP, 1999):

>> The original stimulus behind Bach's keyboard arrangements of concertos may have been the similar organ transcriptions that his friend and distant cousin J.G. Walther made for his gifted pupil Prince Johann Ernst of Sax-Weimar. But whereas nearly all of Walther's arrangements concern the first (pre-Vivaldian) generation of concerto composers, those by Bach are works by Vivaldi and his contemporaries. They most likely date from 1713-1714, following the return of Johann Ernst from his travel in the Netherlands. In fact, the prince himself figures strongly as a composer in Bach transcriptions. <> Of the 17 for harpsichord, six are by Vivaldi and four by Johann Ernst; Alessandro Marcello, his brother Benedetto, Telemann, and possibly Torelli each contributed one, leaving untraced the originals of three.
In making his transcriptions, Bach freely changed the key to suit the instrument's compass, transposed individual lines to facilitate performance, converted the ornamentation into forms more suitable for the keyboard, added harmonic and contrapuntal enrichment, and 'edited' a few details. All in all, however, his adaptations are respectful of the originals in basic matters. While one hesitates to claim, as German scholars once did, that the arrangements offer improvements on the originals, they all contain moments of inspiration, which show the presence of an exceptional creative mind. <<.

You can find the list and details of complete recordings of the solo keyboard concerto arrangements split into several pages, a page for a decade, starting at the page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV972-987.htm
The list includes both recordings of all 16 Concertos (not too many, actually) and recordings of individual Concertos. Except of a few cases, recordings of individual movements are not included. All in all, 73 albums with the Concertos are listed. As in previous discographies in the BCW, each recording is listed only once. All the issues of each recording are presented together.

If you are aware of a recording of these works not listed in the discography, or if you find an error or missing information, please inform me, either through the BRML or to my personal e-mail address.

 

Little Preludes BWV 924-943 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (March 5, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's keyboard works, I have added now a comprehensive discography of the Little Preludes BWV 924-943. AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this group of works.

All the known recordings othe Little Preludes are presented in three pages, according to their common sub-groupings. You can find them all through the main pages of each sub-group:

Little Preludes for W.F. Bach BWV 924-932 (27 albums): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV924-932.htm
Six Little Preludes 933-938 (36 albums): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV933-938.htm
Five Little Preludes BWV 939-943 (29 albums): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV939-943.htm
The remaining Little Prelude BWV 999 (sometimes grouped with the Five Little Preludes) is included in the discography of the Lute Works, which is planned to be revised after the discographies of the solo keyboard works are finished.

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

 

Fugues BWV 944-962 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (March 6, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's solo keyboard works, I have added now a comprehensive discography of the Fugues BWV 944-962. AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this group of works.

All the known recordings of these Fugues (59 albums) are presented in a single page. You can find them all through the main page of BWV 944-962 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV944-962-Rec.htm

If you are aware of a recording of these works not listed in the discography, or if you find an error or missing information, please inform me, either through the BRML or to my personal e-mail address.

I continue to receive material for the already made discographies of the solo keyboard works. I am sincerely grateful to every member who helps me making these discographies as comprehensive, as accurate and as updated as possible. The contributor names are mentioned at the bottom of the relevant discography pages. I would like to mention particularly three, who have provided enormous amount of material: Matthias Hansen, Teddy Kaufman and Teri Noel Towe. I believe that every performer who has ever recorded these works should be listed. Certainly, our master, who composed this sublime music, deserves it. If some other composers, whose works slipped into the BWV list in the early days of Bach's research, may benefit from this enterprise as well, so be it. It is fine with me.

 

Sonatas & Movements BWV 963-970 - Discographies

Aryeh Oron wrote (March 11, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's solo keyboard works, I have added now comprehensive discographies of the Sonatas BWV 963-967 & the Movements BWV 968-970. AFAIK, these are the first ever web-discographies of these groups of works. You can find all the known recordings of each group through the main pages:

Sonatas BWV 963-967 (34 albums): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV963-967.htm
Movements BWV 968-970 (16 albums): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV968-970.htm

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

If you follow the announcements of the discographies, you can easily guess what the next one would be. A real challenge, since this is one of the most recorded of Bach's solo keyboard works, second, probably, only to the Goldberg Variations.

 

Italian Concerto BWV 971 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (March 18, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's solo keyboard works, I have added now a comprehensive discography of one of the most popular works in the canon of Bach's keyboard works - the Italian Concerto BWV 971 (IC). AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this work

The recordings of the Italian Concerto are split into several pages, a page for a decade. Recordings of arrangements & transcriptions of this work were put in a separate page. You can find them all through the main page of BWV 971 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV971.htm

All in all, 214 recordings of the Italian Concerto are listed. Each recording is listed only once. All the issues of each recording are presented together. If a performer has recorded the Italian Concerto more than once, the info includes also the recording number.

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

 

Arias & Variations, Capriccios BWV 989-994 - Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (March 18, 2007):
Following previous discographies of Bach's solo keyboard works, I have added now a comprehensive discography of the Arias & Variations & Capriccios BWV 989-994. AFAIK, this is the first ever web-discography of this group of works.

This is a mixed bag of works, which includes the relatively popular: Aria & Variations in the Italian Style (Aria variata alla maniera Italiana) BWV 989 and Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother (sopra la lotananza del suo fratello dilettissimo) BWV 992, but also the almost neglected (at least in terms of recorded performances): Sarabande & Partita (Sarabande con Partite), BWV 990, Aria & Variations BWV 991, Capriccio BWV 993 and Applicatio BWV 994.

All the known recordings of these works (78 albums) are presented in a single page. You can find them all through the main page of BWV 989-994 at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV989-994.htm

If you are aware of a recording of these works not listed in the discography page, or if you find an error or missing information, please inform me, either through the BRML or to my personal e-mail address.

This is the final discography in the series of discographies of Bach's solo keyboard works. The fact that it happened on Bach's (probable?) birthday is only a coincidence, but might also be a cause for mini-celebration. All the works from BWV 772 to BWV 994, and from BWV 1072 to BWV 1087 have now comprehensive discographies at the BCW. You can find them all through the Index page: http://bach-cantatas.com/IndexNonVocal.htm

The next stage is revision and update of older discographies, including addition/completion/correction of recordings and details, which have been sent to me by concerned members during the last couple of months. I am sincerely grateful to them all.

 

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 romanticism, 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.

 

BCW - New & Upcoming Recordings of Bach's Works

Aryeh Oron wrote (September 18, 2007):
I have revised, expanded and updated the BCW section of New & Upcoming Recordings of Bach's Works.

From Year 2007 this section includes 2 pages for each month - Vocal Works / Non-Vocal Works. Both new releases and reissues of old recordings are listed.
For your convenience all the monthly pages are inter-linked.

The main sources of information are record labels, record stores, and the artists. Release dates differ from country to country and from continent to continent. As a rule of thumb, each recording is placed according to the earliest world-wide release date, of which I am aware.

The main address of this section is: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Rec/index.htm.
There is also a link to Year 2007 in the Home Page of the Bach Cantatas Website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/, under the header 'Additional Information'.

If you are aware of a new/reissued recording not listed in the above pages, please inform me OFF-LIST.

 

BCW - New Section - Bach Stamps

Aryeh Oron wrote (September 22, 2007):
I am glad to inform you of a new section in the BCW - Bach Stamps. The concept of this section was conceived by Teddy Kaufman, who has also compiled all the presented material.

Teddy writes: "It is my feeling that it be emphasized that the glory of Bach is world wide accepted and appreciated even in the 3rd world countries. That was my main purpose, in addition to the artistic and iconographic aspects of the stamps which personally very much appeal to me."

The Bach Stamps section has 2 Index pages:
By Country: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Stamp/Country.htm
(also linked from the Home Page of the BCW)
By Event: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Stamp/Event.htm

If you are aware of a Bach Stamp not presented in this section, and/or if you find an error or missing info, and/or if you have ideas for improvements, please inform either Teddy Kaufman or me OFF-LIST.

 

Bach's Complete Organ Works - Discography & Discussion

Aryeh Oron wrote (October 22, 2007):
Discography

I am glad to inform you that I have just finished another project, which I consider as an important addition to the BCW. This is the complete discography of complete recordings of Bach's Organ Works.

The main obstacle is hidden in the definition of the goal.
A. What are the complete Bach's organ works? Are these all the works in the BWV catalogue? Should the works in the set include doubtful and/or works which have been attributed to other composers, alternate versions of the same work, works in the BWV Anh and BWV deest lists, etc.?
B. Should the discography include only finished recorded sets or sets which are still on their way?
C. Should the discography include only sets for which all the details are available?
D. What to do with sets that include also works with keyboard (harpsichord) BWV Number?

For the sake of completeness I decided to include EVERYTHING. That means ncluding every set defined as COMPLETE even if it is not so complete, every recorded set, either finished or still in its way, sets with partial data or no data at all, and listing all the works in each set, including works with keyboard BWV Number. .

The main page of "Recorded Sets of Bach's Complete (or near complete) Organ Works" is presented at:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/Organ-Complete.htm
The link in the left column leads to the artist biography.
The link in the right column will take you to the page/location in which all known details of the set are presented.

All in all, the list includes 45 recorded sets. You can easily notice that two organists have recorded the organ oeuvre three times: Marie-Claire Alain and Lionel Rogg; four organists have recorded it twice: Jean Guillou, Ewald Kooiman, Wolfgang Rübsam and Helmut Walcha, one set is by 6 organists (Hänssler), etc.

To build this discography I have used every possible source I could find, including web-catalogues, web-stores, web-magazines, artists' websites, labels' websites and other websites, as well as various printed catalogues and my personal collection. Even so, it is not yet finished. Any help in making this first-ever web discography would be most welcome. In some of the sets there are gaps to be filled, and I am quite certain that there are more sets which have slipped away. I remember that in my 1994 Bach Tour I saw in several churches many recordings of Bach's organ works by the local organist. At that time I had not even imagined building such discography. If you are aware of a complete set Bach's organ work not listed in this discography, and/or if you can fill some gaps, and/or if you find an error, please inform me, either through the BRML or to my personal e-mail address.

Discussion

The topic of Complete Bach's Organ Works has been discussed in the BRML several times in recent years. I have yet to compile all past discussions stored in my computer. Until then, I found in my searches for info, a nice article by Clifford F. Gilmore in "Records in Review - 1975 Edition" (The Wyeth Press), comparing 5 sets of the organ works.

"Each of the five performers who have recorded the complete Bach organ works uses a different interpretation of the word "complete," so it's necessary to make some attempt to clarify the picture. Wolfgang Schmieder, in his thematic index of Bach's works (the Bach Werke Verzeichnis), has assigned 247 numbers to organ works-173 chorale-based works and 74 free works. The number of works is actually larger, since alternate versions often share the same number, being designated a, b, or even c. There are also a number of pieces included among the harpsichord works that might legitimately be played on the organ. On the other hand, Schmieder has assigned BWV numbers to many works of doubtful authenticity, some of which have since been definitely attributed to other composers (Krebs, Walther, Telemann, and Bernard Bach are among those thus honored). So a performer might justifiably omit some or all of the doubtful works and alternate versions of the same piece.

Michel Chapuis's twenty-disc edition is the second most nearly complete of the five recorded versions. Of the free works, he omits the eight "Little" preludes and fugues and nine more minor, doubtful works, none of which is a serious omission. He skips 34 chorale-based works, 24 from the group of 25 that Schmieder calls "youthful, doubtful, and defective" works. In all cases concerning the chorales, Chapuis's choices coincide exactly with those of the editors of the Neue Bach Ausgabe, planting the suspicion that he plays from that excellent new edition, even though the older Peters edition scores are included with the records. Chapuis also includes some bonuses in the form of first recordings of three newly discovered works that have no BWV numbers: a major chorale prelude on O Lamm Gottes unschuldig; a Prelude, Trio, and Fugue in B flat major; and a Fantasy in C minor.

The chorale is authentic and is in the new Bach edition, but Bach's authorship of the other two works must remain a matter of speculation. Still, they are highly interesting and attractive works, deserving of recording. These and some other unusual, customarily omitted pieces will appear in Vol. 5.

Vol. 1 is devoted mainly (three sides) to the six trio sonatas. These are among Chapuis's most exciting performances and are by far the best of all the available integral versions of these works. He actually equals Anthony Newman's lightning tempos and electrifying excitement in several movements. Side 4 contains the popular "Little" Fugue in G minor and six of Bach's earliest free works, interesting more as harbingers than for their intrinsic quality.

Vol. 2 is full of chorale-based works. One disc is devoted to the Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch" and nineteen more small chorales and chorale preludes based on Christmas and Advent tunes. The second disc contains the six Schübler chorales and eight smaller works. The twenty-seven small, early chorale preludes in this volume include a number of seldom-heard but delightful works, and Chapuis's extraordinarily interesting and varied readings make even the simplest of them sound like miniature gems.

Vols. 3 and 4 contain all the major preludes and fugues except the E flat; the toccatas, the Passacaglia, and the remaining free works will be in Vol. 7. The major chorale collections each appear in a separate volume: the eighteen Leipzig chorales in Vol. 8, the Clavierübung III (with the E flat Prelude and Fugue and the four duets) in Vol. 9, and the Orgelbüchlein in Vol. 10. Vol. 6 will contain the remaining unattached chorales, and Vol. 5, a kind of supplement, will contain the newly discovered and various odd, difficult-to-cIassify works.

Marie-Claire Alain's version on twenty-five Musical Heritage Society discs is by far the most nearly complete. It matters not to her if Bach wrote the piece, only if Schmieder numbered it. Aside from alternate versions, she omits only one free work (an unfinished C major Fantasy) and seven chorale preludes. (Curiously, Chapuis's less "complete" version includes that fantasy and five of the chorale preludes.) She adds six works to which Schmieder has given harpsichord numbers (the four duets from the Clavierübung III and a little prelude and fugue) and an organ arrangement of that marvelous final fugal chorus from Cantata BWV 131, "Aus tiefer Not." (No one else has recorded this piece, to my knowledge.) Alain's playing is skillful and accurate but lacking in drive or imagination. She plays on a number of fine new tracker organs in northern Europe built by Marcussen. The set's chief virtues are its degree of completeness and low price.

Walter Kraft's edition, which omits sixty-one works and includes no "bonuses," is available in six three-disc Vox Boxes (SVBX 5441/6) and, at an even more tempting price, in a single eighteen-disc Murray Hill box with all the same printed matter. Kraft performs on a dozen fine and truly historic European organs, making the set appear even more attractive. His playing, however, is woefully inadequate: excruciatingly labored, slow, laden with wrong notes and botched rhythms, and utterly lacking in imagination. The set could not possibly be priced low enough to qualify it as an acceptable bargain. I really fret for the casual buyer who innocently takes these records home and wonders why Bach is so painful to listen to.

The most heavily pruned of the complete editions is Helmut Walcha's, contained in two large Deutsche Grammophon volumes. Vol. 1 (2723 008, eight discs) is devoted to the free works; all doubtful works have been banished as well as quite a few more that he apparently regards as inferior. In all, there are thirty six omissions from this volume, among them eight works already published in the new Bach edition and others that have never been considered doubtful. All the major works are here, though.

Vol. 2 (2723 009), a seven-record collection devoted to the chorale settings, has not yet been released in this country. It includes all the chorales in the four big collections (Orgelbüchlein, Schübler, the eighteen Leipzig chorales, Clavierübung Ill) plus the Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch," one partita, and six more chorales, omitting the remaining seventy-four chorale settings. These are Walcha's second recordings of the "complete" Bach; the earlier ones, mostly in mono, have been deleted for a number of years. Most of the new recordings were made on a severely renovated Silbermann organ in Strasbourg, the others on the organ of St. Laurenskerk in Alkmaar.

Walcha's style is that of the noble purist's reaction against the excessively subjective, "Romantic" Bach performances of the last century. In recent years, however, the pendulum has swung back toward the center, and his performances now seem excessively objective, bloodless, sterile, and embarrassingly reverential. His integrity is unassailable, and he deserves respect for his important accomplishments, but I can't recommend any of his performances to today's record buyers.

Lionel Rogg's records must be mentioned for the sake of completeness, even though they will be difficult for American collectors to find. He too has recorded the complete series twice, omitting thirty-three of the free works and about sixty of the chorales. The first recordings (in very good mono) were made on the superb large new Metzler organ in the Grossmünster in Zurich. They are now available singly on the English Oryx Bach Recordings label (B-OR 1-18). A stereo series, done on a fine Silbermann organ in Arlesheim, was made by French Harmonia Mundi. The first nine of these records were available briefly here on Epic (B3C 166, 169, 173); the whole series is still available in France in three six-record boxes (Harmonia Mundi 521, 522, 523).

Rogg, a student of Walcha, is a self-confessed admirer of his mentor, so his style is predictably similar. Rogg, however, plays with more facility and a bit more imagination: These are good, standard readings.

Chapuis's, then, easily outclasses all the competing complete sets. I would rank him right along with my other favorite Bach organists, Richter, Biggs, and Newman. Chapuis combines some of the best qualities of these three players: Richter's eIectrifyingly exciting playing, Biggs's wit and sparkle, and Newman's incredible facility. I recommend that you start with Vol. 3 (preludes and fugues played at Zwolle) unless you're already convinced that you should go for the complete ten volumes."

During the period of preparing this discography I immersed myself almost solely in the world of Bach's organ works. I am crazy enough to have 11 complete sets plus bits and pieces from some more, which is more than enough. Unlike the world of Bach's vocal works, I am not sure that I need any more. Of the sets at my disposal, I feel more comfortable with four: Lionel Rogg's 2nd (HMF), Wolfgang Rübsam's 1st (Philips), Simon Preston (DGG) and Werner Jacob (EMI). By comfortable I mean that these are the sets to which I find myself returning most often, when I want either to listen to a certain work, or just to hear organ music in the background when I am doing something else, such as preparing this announcement. Please do not ask me which is the best set. IMO, every generalisation regarding such a huge group of works with about 12-20 hours of music in each, is risky and might do injustice with the efforts of the artist.

My favourite organ work these days is the Passacaglia & Fugue in C minor, BWV 582. I have listened to every recorded performance at my disposal, including organ, pedal-harpsichord (some experts claim that the work was composed originally for this instrument), piano transcriptions, etc. My favourites recording of this magnificent work is by Werner Jacob: good balance, well-structured, clear lines, dignified, not too rush, beautiful colours, quiet drive and momentum, sense of continuity. In short, to my ears this is how this work should sound.

 

Bach Memorabilia Section - A Present for the New Year

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 25, 2007):
Teddy Kaufman, a member of the BCML/BRML, has initiated a new section in the BCW called Bach Memorabilia. He has also contributed most of the material for this section.

J.S. Bach is one the most popular composers of classical music. He has become a world-wide icon, known by almost every human being in the civilized world, including people who do not listen regularly to classical music. Being an icon means that Bach image and/or name appears on numerous items, musical and non-musical alike.

The Bach Memorabilia section aims at presenting every item on which Bach image and/or name appears (excluding recordings and books, which are presented elsewhere in the BCW).

The Bach Memorabilia section is divided into several groups.

Art & Collector Items: Paintings & Pictures; Posters & Graphic Art; Statues, Memorials, Monuments & Plaques; Busts, Figurines & Statuettes; Caricatures & Cartoons; Stamps & Envelopes; Medals, Medallions & Coins.
Home, Office & Dress: T-Shirts; Ties, Handkerchiefs & Scarves; Buttons & Pins; Jewelry & Ornaments; Hats; Umbrellas & Fans; Bags; Clocks; Mugs, Cups & Steins; Toys & Dolls; Costumes & Wigs; Calendars; Pens & Pencils; Mousepads; Accessories.

Each item in the Bach Memorsection has its own page, in which the data presented include: type, title, description, measures, comments, source/links, and of course photo/s.

The material in this section is organized in two methods:
* Index by Type/Number
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Memo/Number.htm
* A page for each type, in which you can see in one glance many items in smaller sized photos.
See, for example, Bach Busts, Figurines & Statuettes:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Memo/R-Bust.htm
Both ways lead you, of course, to the item pages.

I am not sure that the Bach Memorabilia section would enrich your understanding of Bach's music. However, it might give you moments of pleasure when you listen to his music. I hope that it would attract more people to Bach and his music.

The material for this section has been compiled through extensive research all over the web. Teddy is continuing skillfully his search for new items. Nevertheless, if any of you are aware of a Bach Memorabilia item not presented in the Bach Memorabilia section, please send the material (info, photos, links) to me off-list.

A Happy New Year to you all!

 

BCW - Russian Translations of the Bach Cantatas

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 28, 2007):
One of the important sections of the BCW is the collection of about 1,650 translations of Bach's vocal works into various languages. We all know how strong is the connection between Bach's vocal music and the text to which it was set. Understanding the sung text is therefore essential to intensify our enjoyment from the music. That's why I am continuously looking for additional translations.

For a long time I have been looking for Russian translations of the Bach Cantatas. The Cantatas are already presented on the BCW in translations into languages as: Chinese, Dutch, English, French, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. It has been seemed to me important to present them in Russian as well.

At the end of March 2007 my wishes were fulfilled. Alexander Volkov, a member of the BCML, found a translator, Peter Meshcherinov, hegumen of St. Daniel Monastery, Moscow.

Peter Meshcherinov has been working very skilfully and rapidly. By the end of 2007, after only 9 months, about 120 Russian translations of the Bach Cantatas are already presented, as well as the 6 Cantatas of the Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248.

As with other languages, there are 3 index pages of Russian translations.
BWV Number: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/IndexTexts-Rus-BWV.htm
Title: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/IndexTexts-Rus-Title.htm
Event: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/IndexTexts-Rus-Event.htm

In August 2007 I received through Teddy Kaufman, another member of the BCML, a message from Mikhail Saponov, Russian musicologist who is known in Russia for translating Bach Cantatas. Mikhail Saponov wrote as follows:
"I have read the Russian translations on your web site with enthusiasm and find them splendid and exact, their prose style is so beautifully united with the atmosphere of old Russian prayers! The translator, hegumen Peter is my former student in music history at the Tschaikovsky Conservatoire, Moscow, and by now surely feels the liturgical spirit of the texts much better then me. My translations are made in quite another tone, so the intrusion of such style as mine will damage the stylistic unity of the texts already inserted at your site. Please, don't interrupt the beautiful series of these translations and let this serious and theologically educated translator rev. Peter Meshcherinov finish his work of high level."

I hope that the availability of Russian translations of Bach's vocal works would make these sublime works more accessible to the community of Russian-speaking Bach lovers around the world (including my country).

Current status of translations into other languages:
English: Francis Browne - about 160 cantatas as well as many, in progress.
Chinese: Yang Jingfeng - about 20, in progress
Dutch: Various contributors - about 50, in progress
French: Jean-Pierre Grivois - all
Hebrew: Various contributors (most are mine) - almost all
Indonesian: Rianto Pardede - all
Italian: Emanuele Antonacci, Vittorio Marnati & Riccardo Pisano & Alberto Lazzari: - about 160 (several cantatas have 2 translations), in progress
Portuguese: Rodrigo Maffei Libonati & Leonardo Santos - about 50, slow progress
Spanish: Various contributors - all

I am still looking for translations into other languages, such as Polish, Arabic, etc. If you speak one of those languages (or others) and you can not find translations into your language anywhere, you can always try your hands in preparing translations by yourself. By doing that, you would definitely help expanding the understanding and appreciation of Bach's vocal music to the people who speak your language.

Happy New Year!

 

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Last update: July 1, 2011 22:33:50