J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Demidenko Plays Bach-Busoni

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Nikolai Demidenko
Individual Works:Toccata & Fugue in D minor BWV 565
Chorale Preude "Ich ruf' zu dir Herr Jesu Christ" BWV 639
Cappricio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother BWV 992
Chorale Prelude "Nun komm der heiden Heiland" BWV 659
Prelude 7 Fugue in E-flat ('St. Anne') BWV 552
Chorale Prelude "Nun freut eich, leben Christen gmein" BWV 734
Toccata, Adagio & Fugue in C BWV 564
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Hyperion
Catalog Number:CDA66566
Year Released/Recorded:1991
Total Playing Time:76'07"
Comments:Todd M. Billeci said:

Demidenko is among the younger generation of Moscow Conservatory piano virtuosos & quite passionate. Demidenko's mastery of tone color affords a spectacular palette of timbres particularly memorable in his D minor Toccata & Fugue (BWV 565), a hair-raising performance that puts many organ versions to shame. To me, Fergus-Thompson's hyphenated Bach recital ("Chaconne," ASV Dig. 991) sounds like High Elevator Music in comparison!

"Capriccio on the departure of a beloved brother" (BWV 992) is included. I have only heard it elsewhere on a Rosalyn Tureck disc. Demidenko plays the Adagissimo beautifully, but Tureck's version is also superb. I suggest getting both discs, as the Capriccio is a vaguely outlined work that the performer is required to complete, and one may compare realizations.

Jan Hanford said:

The idea of transcriptions of Bach's organ (and other) works for piano is very exciting to me. Although Bach's organ works are generally beautiful, I am not a big fan of the organ. It's too "churchy" for my taste and all that foundation-shaking volume is sometimes too alarming to listen to in one's living room.

Translating this incredible music to piano is a great idea but these transcriptions are not the ones for me. They are too much Busoni and not enough Bach. The liner notes praise Busoni's performance of Liszt, etc. and sadly that style comes through here. This headache-inducing performance is partly the fault of Demidenko's relentless pounding and pedal but it seems the transcriptions themselves are too heavy. At times it reminded me of Scriabin. That might be good if I weren't familiar with, and expecting, Bach. The few gentle moments made me wonder why there weren't more of them.

So, I don't recommend this cd except for fans of Busoni, Liszt and Scriabin.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Todd M. Billeci
And formerly from the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:01/11/2003