J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Pro Cembalo Pleno - Bach on the pedal harpsichord

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Douglas Amrine
Instrumentation:Pedal Harpsichord
Individual Works:Fantasia and Fugue in G minor BWV 542;
Meine seele erhebt den Herrn;
žDorianž Toccata and Fugue;
Prelude and Fugue in G major BWV 541;
Prelude and Fugue in E flat major žSt Annež; Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor BWV 582.
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Priory
Catalog Number:PRCD 523
Year Released/Recorded:1995
Total Playing Time:63:13
Comments:Alastair Evans said:

Some of Bach's best organ works played admirably on a pedal harpsichord. The harpsichord is modelled after Mietke, a German maker whose harpsichords Bach played and the pedal harpsichord was built to complement it, aiming for a reconstruction of the kind of instrument Bach most certainly owned (it is in the catalogue of his possessions at his death) and probably used to improvise on and practise organ works. Lots of Bach's organ works, like some of the preludes and fugues, and the passacaglia and fugue and toccata and fugue here, work equally well on the harpsichord, unsurprisingly, as people tended to compose for the 'clavier' in those days rather than specifically the organ, harpsichord or clavichord. If one owned a pedal harpsichord, it is likely one would have played such works as these on it. The playing is very good by Amrine, and his ornamentation sounds natural and almost always complements the music rather than detracts from it. The only bad thing about the recording is that the sound of the harpsichord, and particularly the pedal harpsichord, is very percussive, in the sense that the sounds of the action are very prominent, probably from the placing of the microphones, and the pedal especially is sometimes overwhelmed by these percussive noises. Nevertheless an excellent recording, and much better sounding than any done on those awful revival 'harpsichords'.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Alastair Evans
Date First Submitted:01/06/2006