J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

New Bach

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Stephen Rapp
Soloists:Stephen Rapp, organ
Douglas Myers, trumpet
Richards, Fowkes & Co. Organ, Op. 5 (1995)
St. John's Lutheran Church, Stamford, CT
Individual Works:Wir Glauben all an einen Gott, BWV Anh. 69, BWV Anh. 70
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort BWV Anh.50
Erstanden ist der heilige Christ BWV Anh. 51
Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele BWV Anh. 52, BWV Anh. 53
Von Himmel hoch BWV Anh. 64, BWV Anh. 63
Helft mir Gottes Gute preisen BWV Anh. 54
Herr Christ, der einig' Gottes Sohn BWV Anh. 55
Wachet auf, ruft uns BWV Anh. 66
Sei Lob und Ehr mit hohem Preis BWV Anh. 62b, BWV Anh. 62a
Sarabanda con Partite BWV 990
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan BWV Anh. 67
Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott BWV Anh. 49
Allein Gott in der Hoh' sei Ehr BWV Anh. 48
Jesu, meine Freude BWV Anh. 58, BWV Anh. 59
Wer nur den lieben Gott lasst walten BWV Anh. 68
Nun lob, meine Seel' den Herren BWV Anh. 60
Canon BWV Anh. 72
Prelude and Fugue in C Major BWV 531
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:Raven
Catalog Number:OAR-420
Year Released/Recorded:1998
Total Playing Time:75:09
Comments:Review by Jan Hanford:

For Bach organ music enthusiasts this new disc is a must-have. The disc contains 21 organ chorales recorded for the very first time. These chorales had been listed in the 1950 Bach Werke Versichnis appendix but, until now, had not been recorded or published. Discovered in the early 20th century, the manuscripts date from the early 19th centruy and are largely the work of anonymous copyists. The question of their authenticity remains to be decided but that doesn't make these works any less beautiful. Stephen Rapp and Douglas Myers (the artists on this recording) have prepared an edition scheduled to be published by Breitkopf in late 1998 or early 1999.

The recording is an exquisite presentation of these lovely works. This is not the dramatic Bach most associated with his organ music, full of flourishes and thunder. The sound here is recorded close to the organ, without much echo, giving it a sweet feeling of intimacy. The melodies and the weaving of the counterpoint is mesmerizing and creates a tranquil atmosphere. Stephen Rapp's performance is outstanding; his tempos feel very natural and his varied choice of organ stops is intelligent and appropriate. I highly recommend this recording for the seasoned organ music fan and the new listener; you won't be disappointed.

Also included are the expertly played Sarabanda con Partite (BWV 990) and the Prelude and Fugue in C Major (BWV 531). The historical importance of this recording deserves giving it a listen but the performance is also a pleasure.

You can visit the Raven Compact Disc web site for buying direct and for more information about their complete catalog of organ music.

Simon Crouch said:

This is a very fine recording indeed. The playing is excellent and the sound of the organ is absolutely ravishing. I wish more record companies would be as adventurous as Raven and record works in the BWV Appendices. Even though few of these works may actually be by Bach, it's good to have the chance to decide for ones self! The only gripe that I have is that the CD notes should have given more details of the transmission and provenance of these works - after all, this information is hard to come by and this is the ideal spot to record it. Still, this is an essential buy!

Todd M. Billeci said:

This issue reminds me of similar entries in the Beethoven discography of the numerous piano Bagatelles that continually turn up in Austrian attics. As said of Beethoven's minor piano scribblings, Bach's organ analogs could be likened to "chips from the old Master's workbench." Among them is Bach's only tune for trumpet & organ. All are well-played on an interesting
modern organ at Stamford, Conneticut crafted to emulate the old world antiques JSB knew. The acoustic is dry as a bone.

I found the notes above average due to the 6 paragraphs on the organ & an index of registrations for each piece. The only other discs I've seen with this info. were from Alain & Chapius.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Simon Crouch
  • Todd M. Billeci
From the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:03/19/1998