J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Organ Works: The Toccatas

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Ton Koopman
Individual Works:Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565
Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major BWV 564
Toccata and Fugue in F major BWV 540
Toccata and Fugue "Dorian" BWV 538
Record Label:Archiv Produktion
Catalog Number:410 999-2
Year Released/Recorded:1983
Total Playing Time:46'13"
Related Web Site:http://www.tonkoopman.nl
Comments:RB: Excellent performances, with an especially exciting rendition of BWV 564. I defy listeners to remain seated for more than ten seconds into the fugue. The recording deserves special praise for its spacious quality and brilliant sound.
AS: The instrument is really outstanding, possibly one of the best organs existing. Built in the period of Bach's activity, it is supposed to be played by Bach himself. Koopman's performance is remarkable. Very interesting. 8 out of 10.

Bernard Kruesemann said:

Being used to my crackled LP with Helmut Walcha performing in St. Laurenskerk, I turned the newly purchased Koopman off within minutes and put it in the bin to avoid that other people with less listening experience get a wrong impression about Bach organ works. Not only did the sound engineer think that people would be interested in reverb rather than music, but Koopman himself seems to find the original Bach so boring that he invents additional warblers and adornments - not only on hidden places in the development, but also on prominent notes which are expected to persist. The beautiful hard cut-offs between the full chords and the breaks do not produce any impression at all on those recordings, because there is no clear difference between reverb and direct sound.

I can recommend the record for people who are longing for spectacular and new effects on their 25th recording of those popular organ works.
For mannered interpretations, and especially if you want only one version on your shelf, you should rather stay with Walcha.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Robert Berkovitz
  • Andrea Sibaldi
  • Bernard Kruesemann said
Date First Submitted:12/16/1995