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Thread: Hauntingly beautiful organ music by Bach

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    Default Hauntingly beautiful organ music by Bach

    I'm not sure how many people are familiar with Bach's organ works from his Orgelbüchlein, but once in a while, you come across a piece that absolutely takes your breath away. I believe this recording of BWV 622 (O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß) is one of those pieces, and shows how amazing of a composer Bach was, truly rivaled by only a few. Listen and enjoy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjR_JHC_E-M

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    Sounds absolutely amazing. ^^ I wonder what it sounds like on a less-haunting sounding instrument like a piano or trumpet. The sound of the organ makes it a little too haunting for my tastes, but it still gives a beauty to the piece.

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    Senior Member SiegendesLicht's Avatar
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    I have just discovered this. It did make me shed a tear, not because of my sins, but because of the overwhelming beauty of this piece.
    ... yet for us will still remain the holy German art... (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)
    ***
    God gave all men all earth to love,
    But since our hearts are small,
    Ordained for each one spot should prove
    Beloved over all.
    R. Kipling

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carstenb View Post
    Sounds absolutely amazing. ^^ I wonder what it sounds like on a less-haunting sounding instrument like a piano or trumpet. The sound of the organ makes it a little too haunting for my tastes, but it still gives a beauty to the piece.
    The beauty is in the piece already. It would sound every bit as haunting in a good and well-played piano transcription.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Animal the Drummer View Post
    The beauty is in the piece already. It would sound every bit as haunting in a good and well-played piano transcription.
    I think the organ has a very special ability to overwhelm the senses. I've felt that with a few pieces, and the only way I can get close to such a feeling of joy and infinity is with very good vocal recordings. The organ is the instrument through which the voice of God can speak; the vocal system is the instrument through which the voice of Humanity can speak.
    "Deixeu pels filisteus la misèria de l'or, les lluites sense glòria; per ells l'afany de viure rastrejant per la terra, per vosaltes l'hermós esplet de l'empenta creadora, la pau de l'esperit, l'arrobament del somni cantant-vos corrandes a l'orella que us bressin la vida."
    Santiago Rusiñol

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    I respect that view, but for my money it's too restrictive. Tastes differ.

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    Senior Member Cosmos's Avatar
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    Yes! Bach's organ music is on it's own level of fantastic! I still need to plan some time aside for the Orgelbuchlein.

    One of my favorite selections: BWV 615, "In dir ist freude"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcEBISHBdRw

    And thank you for introducing me to BWV 622. The intro itself takes me to another world
    Last edited by Cosmos; Jan-10-2016 at 16:26.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Animal the Drummer View Post
    The beauty is in the piece already. It would sound every bit as haunting in a good and well-played piano transcription.
    I'm skeptical. I have never heard a piano transcription of a Bach organ piece that was worth much, imho.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    I'm skeptical. I have never heard a piano transcription of a Bach organ piece that was worth much, imho.
    Once again I respect that but cannot agree. If you don't think that (to name but two) Harriet Cohen playing her transcription of "Ertodt uns durch deine Gute" or Myra Hess playing hers of "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben" ("Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring") are "worth much", I'm sorry for what you're missing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    I'm skeptical. I have never heard a piano transcription of a Bach organ piece that was worth much, imho.
    I would put it marginally different:

    I have never heard a piano transcription of an organ Work by Bach, which I would prefer to the original organ version played by a capable organist.

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    Junior Member Asterix77's Avatar
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    I have played some of the chorals from the Orgelbuchlein in the past. THere are some real gems.
    Jesu meine Freude, BWV610, and of course BWV639 Ich ruf zu dir

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9Dh43kVL1Q

    Or BWV642 Wer nur den lieber Gott lasst walten

    The great thing about the Orgelbuchlein is that it can be played by a good willing moderate amateur, some of them are more difficult then others, but with some practice it is very satisfying.
    Last edited by Asterix77; Jan-18-2016 at 21:57.

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    And I want to add one more choral, BWV659 - Nun kommt der Heiden Heiland, one of the 18 Leipziger Chorale.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VdZDRh1mbM

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    Junior Member Vsyevolod's Avatar
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    BWV 648. Especially as performed by Marie-Claire Alain.

    Stephen




    .

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    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
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    Listening to various performances of his most famous organ works on Spotify. So far I've just compared Simon Preston, Karl Richter and Peter Hurford, but the differences between them seems quite amazing. Can anyone comment on the differences? Is it the quality of the organ, or is the organist making choices about the tones (is that changed by the stops? - forgive my ignorance). Some seem overwhelmingly grand and others quiet and intimate. Is there a 'go to' version that I shouldn't miss?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by MacLeod; May-07-2016 at 08:15.
    "I left TC for a hiatus, but since no-one noticed my absence, I came back again."

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    Senior Member Marc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    Listening to various performances of his most famous organ works on Spotify. So far I've just compared Simon Preston, Karl Richter and Peter Hurford, but the differences between them seems quite amazing. Can anyone comment on the differences? Is it the quality of the organ, or is the organist making choices about the tones (is that changed by the stops? - forgive my ignorance). Some seem overwhelmingly grand and others quiet and intimate. Is there a 'go to' version that I shouldn't miss?

    Thanks.
    There have been many theories about how to play Bach, and not just on the organ.

    Tempi, phrasing, articulation, and, with the organ, indeed the choice of stops/registers, and... very important IMO, the choice of the instrument itself.
    No organ sounds the same. And not all organs are tuned in the same way. It's a long and complex story, and I'm not the true connaisseur myself. But I do know that, in most cases, Bach and many other (before) baroque composers did not mention which stops should be used. This of course leads to 'zillions' of interesting performances and recordings. The fact that there are so many differences in sound, articulation, tempi, diction et al makes organ listening so very interesting and gratifying to me.

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