J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Works for Organ

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Albert Schweitzer
Soloists:Albert Schweitzer
Individual Works:1. Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
2. Chorale Prelude "Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier", BWV 731
3. Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 545
4. Chorale Prelude "Jesus Christus unser Heiland", BWV 665
5. Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV 548
6. Fugue in G minor "die kliene", BWV 578
7. Choral Prelude "Christum, wir sollen loben schon", BWV 611
8. Choral Prelude "O lamm Gottes, unschuldig", BWV 656
9. Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major, BWV 564
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:EMI
Catalog Number:CDH 7-64703-2
Year Released/Recorded:1935; 1937
Total Playing Time:76:08
Comments:Eran Zamir said:

A wonderful collection of organ pieces played by Albert Schwietzer, the great humanist and Bach scholar.

Mozart thought that the organ was "the king of instruments," but this review has never particularly cared for it. However, this disc brings out the beauty of these pieces: Schweitzer's performance raised the listening experience to almost mystical levels, and made me truly appreciate the organ for the first time.

This is not the place to debate Schweitzer's technical profieciency, as I am not an organist, but what he may lack in skill he more than makes up for in passion. Nowhere is this more evident than in the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV 565), as well as the Choral Prelude "Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier" (BWV 731).

The fact that these pieces were recorded in the 1930's was not a problem for me, as far as the musical quality of the disc is concerned. Just as in Pablo Casal's recordings of the Cello Suites, EMI has done a good job of remastering the original material.

The only problem I had with the disc was the Prelude and Fugue in E minor (BWV 548), which, according to the liner notes, is the longest fugue that Bach ever wrote. Like the Chaconne of the second violin partita, it is gigantic in scope, and I wonder how many organists have ever done it well. One can hardly blame Schweitzer for having difficulty scaling this peak.

Overall, a great buy, if one is fortunate enough to find it. Schweitzer's aura undoubtedly adds something to the experience, but it is a wonderful CD on its own terms.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Eran Zamir
Date First Submitted:09/14/2003