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Stairway to Bach

Stairway to Bach

Rock classics with a hint of Bach
May 3th 2024

The organ has been regarded as an orchestra from its earliest beginnings, and over the years many composers have transposed vocal and orchestral works for the instrument.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries we find many interesting examples of organ tran- scriptions, such as Max Reger’s organ arrangements of the piano parts in a number of Hugo Wolff’s songs. Sigfrid Karg-Elert arranged a number of passages from Wagner’s operas for harmonium, while Charles-Marie Widor gave several Bach movements a loving organ treatment in the collection “Bach’s Memento”, demonstrating the ability of composers and other musicians to be inspired by the compositions of other masters and to “re-compose” them for their own instrument.
These transcriptions and adaptations were all made at a time when music could only be experienced by hearing it in live performance. In the case of the orchestral pieces, in particular, very few people would have had the opportunity to hear all these mar- vellous works. Orchestral concerts were rare and costly, which is one of the reasons why orchestral works were transcribed for piano and organ. The piano transcriptions could be played at home, while the organ transcriptions could be played in churches and concert halls where organs were available. Several of the great concert hall organs of the 19th and 20th centuries were thus directly justified by the fact that they could play the orchestral repertoire when an orchestra could not be afforded.
Today, we can all listen to good recordings of the great classical works, but a real con- cert with real musicians is still something special. That is why it still makes sense to perform selected works in transcription for smaller ensembles, so that many more can have the opportunity to experience
the music in real concerts. The more intimate and transparent expression of the transcriptions also emphasises different nuances and elements of the music, by comparison with the original versions.

Reviews

Stairway to Bach

April 30, 2024

Second great 5 stars review in Fanfare


Colin Clarke

Stairway to Bach

April 1, 2024

Fanfare US

Raymond Tuttle

Stairway to Bach

March 31, 2024

4. Fanfare review

Peter Burwasser

Stairway to Bach

March 28, 2024

Great 5 stars review in Fanfare (US)

Ken Meltzer

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