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Bach And His Circle - Walther, Krebs, Hurlebusch / Pechefsky


Release Date: 05/30/2006 
Label:  Quill Classics   Catalog #: 1006   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Ludwig KrebsJohann Gottfried WaltherConrad F. HurlebuschJohann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Rebecca Pechefsky
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BACH AND HIS CIRCLE Rebecca Pechefsky (hpd) QUILL 1006 (67:05)


KREBS Partita in a. WALTHER Wachet auf, ruft uns die stimme. Fugue in F. HURLEBUSCH Suite in c. BACH Chromatic Fantasia & Fugue


This interesting CD features works by Read more three composers who knew Bach one way or another, in addition to the master’s own Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue. And who, exactly, were these people?


Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713–80) was Bach’s prize pupil, in fact the only one besides his children who really had his respect and esteem. Yet despite recommendation letters from Bach, he had a hard time in his career, working at two churches that had really bad organs. In 1756 he accepted a position at the court of Prince Friedrich of Gotha-Altenberg where the organ was so good that he accepted a pay cut! Unfortunately, with a wife and children, he soon began petitioning the Prince for raises; apparently he got them, because he stayed there until his death. His best pieces are considered to be those he wrote for the organ. Rebecca Pechefsky makes a plea for this partita, which gets off to a terrific start with a Fantasia that pays homage to Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue. The following three movements are also quite interesting, but by the time he reaches the Sarabande, Krebs simplifies the music and runs into thematic repetition. They’re certainly attractive melodies, and Pechefsky plays them with charm and élan, but truthfully they’re no more than dance music.


Johann Gottfried Walther (1684–1748), Bach’s cousin and a good friend, got to know J. S. while the latter was in Weimar. Bach borrowed books from Walther’s extensive library, and the cousins played each other’s music, but unlike Krebs he was unable to find a regular position and struggled for most of his life. He also had trouble publishing his compositions and, in his final years, had so much financial difficulty that he was forced to sell the bulk of his cherished library. His version of the popular “Wachet auf” is more complex than Bach’s, using bits of the melody to form countersubjects. The Fugue in F sounds deceptively straightforward despite containing some intricacies, and is (apparently) Walther’s only stand-alone fugue.


Conrad Friedrich Hurlebusch (1695–1765) was, by all accounts, difficult, eccentric, and egotistical to the point of narcissism, yet also genuinely talented. He visited the Bach family in Leipzig around 1734, showed off his own keyboard prowess and compositions, paid little attention when Bach played, and ended his visit by giving Bach’s sons one of his own pieces with the admonition to “study it carefully”! Bach smiled politely to himself, but after Mr. Full of Himself left, he was impressed enough with Hurlebusch to offer a collection of his keyboard works for sale at the St. Thomas School a year later. As can be imagined, Hurlebusch had a hard go of it in life, spending the majority of his years either refusing jobs or resigning from the ones he accepted. (While he was working in Hamburg, an anonymous pamphleteer attacked him; during his years as an organist in Amsterdam, a series of slanderous articles against him appeared in the local paper.) The Suite in C is an absolute gem, more consistently interesting than Krebs’ partita. It opens with a grand overture whose fugue is similar to the hammer-stroke theme in the Prelude of Bach’s Third English Suite. There is no doubt that the two composers, though hardly bosom buddies, cross-influenced each other.


The recital ends with Bach’s own Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, which Pechefsky tears into with real gusto. As most Bach mavens are aware, this is not only a great piece but almost uncharacteristically flashy for Bach—it more closely resembles some of Handel’s harpsichord pieces, written in an elaborate Italian style, than Bach’s own work. Both ends of it are full of surprises, particularly the fugue, which, after progressing chromatically up and down, suddenly lurches upward into new keys, pulling the attentive listener about like a rag doll in a storm. I can’t recall hearing any other harpsichordist play this piece with the kinetic energy that Pechefsky displays here.


This disc is a real gem, which I recommend highly.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1. Partita in A minor by Johann Ludwig Krebs
Performer:  Rebecca Pechefsky (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Germany 
Venue:  Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Brooklyn, 
Length: 33 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Notes: Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Brooklyn, NY (07/26/2005 - 07/27/2005) 
2. Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme by Johann Gottfried Walther
Performer:  Rebecca Pechefsky (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Venue:  Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Brooklyn, 
Length: 3 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Notes: Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Brooklyn, NY (07/26/2005 - 07/27/2005) 
3. Suite for Keyboard in C minor by Conrad F. Hurlebusch
Performer:  Rebecca Pechefsky (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
Venue:  Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Brooklyn, 
Length: 16 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Notes: Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Brooklyn, NY (07/26/2005 - 07/27/2005) 
4. Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Rebecca Pechefsky (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Venue:  Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Brooklyn, 
Length: 10 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Notes: Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Brooklyn, NY (07/26/2005 - 07/27/2005) 
5. Fugue for Organ in F major, LV 124 by Johann Gottfried Walther
Performer:  Rebecca Pechefsky (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Venue:  Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Brooklyn, 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Notes: Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Brooklyn, NY (07/26/2005 - 07/27/2005) 

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