J.S. Bach J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Organ Works

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Simon Preston
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Klais organ (1969-70), Monastery Church of Kreuzberg, Bonn, Germany
Individual Works:Toccata & Fugue in d, BWV 565
Fantasia in G, BWV 572
Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her", BWV 769
Prelude & Fugue in D, BWV 532
Pastorale in F, BWV 590 ("Pastorella")
Prelude & Fugue in E flat, BWV 552
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Deutsche Grammophon
Catalog Number:427 668-2
Year Released/Recorded:1988
Total Playing Time:61'56"
Comments:Alastair Asher said:

This recording is by far the single best performance of Bach's organ works. But the main reason I am writing is to point out the interesting (to me at least) fact that the great BWV 552 recorded here is different to the one on the Simon Preston's complete recording 'Das Orgelwerk'. It is far better. I mentioned the version that the one in the complete recording wasn't much good; this one is, because it was done at a time when he was in absolute top artistic form (as evidenced by the other recordings on the disc).

This is another thing which speaks against the wisdom of whoever is in charge of releases at Deutsche Grammophon. In the complete edition 'Das Orgelwerk', they left out a great deal of stuff Simon Preston had recorded, excellently, because in their opinion it was probably not really by Bach (e.g. BWV 597, the eight short preludes and fugues, BWV 571). That is all very well, but some of it (BWV 571)is, in fact, probably by Bach (according to the editors at Barenreiter), and the other works are at least good organ music - why should they be left out? Add to this that Simon Preston gives by far - even compared to other great organists who have recorded complete editions - the best performance of these works on record, and it's a huge shame that their complete edition is not complete. And then there is this version of BWV 552 they left off, because they recorded a new (inferior) version. Christopher Herrick has two versions of this in his complete edition, so why not Preston? But then Herrick's record label (Hyperion) has far more common sense and understanding with regards to this kind of thing.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Alastair Asher
Date First Submitted:04/20/1997