WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

21st Century Bach - Complete Organ Works Vol 1 / Whiteley

Bach,J.s. / Whiteley
Release Date: 09/29/2009 
Label:  Signum U.k.   Catalog #: 3  
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



21ST CENTURY BACH—THE COMPLETE ORGAN WORKS & John Scott Whiteley (org) SIGNUM VISION 3 (DVD: 182:00)


BACH Preludes and Fugues: in b, BWV 544; in a, BWV 543; in C, BWV 545. Sonatas: II, BWV 526; I, Read more class="ARIAL12"> BWV 525. Vater unser im Himmelreich. Wo sol lich fliehen hin? Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme. Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten. Alle Menschen müssen sterben. Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüctig. In dich hab ich gehoffet, Herr. Von Gott will ich nicht lassen. Christ lag in Todesbanden. Jesus Christus, unser Heiland. Erstanden ist der heil’ge Christ. Erschienen ist der herrliche Tag. Von Gott will ich nicht lassen. Allein Gott in der Höh sei Her. Sei gegrüsset Jesu gütig


& Interview with Harvard professor Christoph Wolff


Most orchestral and instrumental DVDs I’ve had occasion to review have struck me as being a poor use of what is, and could be, an imaginative and instructional medium. And that is why I found myself quite impressed by this Signum Vision production, because it is the exception to the rule. Granted, there is some campy horror at the very beginning, with a colony of bees swarming over a statue of Bach, and organist John Scott Whiteley walking slowly down the nave of the Abteikirche wearing dark shades and looking every bit the character in a Mafia mob movie. I was half expecting him to draw a gun or be gunned down before he reached the organ loft. But once we’re past this bit of theatrical stage-setting, the DVD gets down to serious business.


The main menu is set up in such a way that you can choose the program you wish to access either by organ—i.e., the Johann Philipp & Johann Heinrich Stumm instrument at Amorbach’s Abteikirche or the Heinrich Gottfried Trost instrument at Walterschausen’s Stadtkirche—or by all of the pieces as they are ordered on the disc. There is also a third option on the main menu: to play the interview with Professor Christoph Wolff.


If you select the option to play the disc by organ, a subsequent screen displays a track listing of all the works on the disc that are performed on that organ, allowing you to choose which one of them you wish to play. Unfortunately, one of the inconveniences of the “play by organ” mode is that you can only choose one work at a time. In this mode, credits are rolled at the end of the piece, and the disc returns you to the track listing so that you must take action to play the next piece if you wish to continue. Moreover, in the “play by organ” mode, selecting the track you wish to play is not the only decision you must make; for once having clicked on the track title, a subsequent screen presents and prompts you to make additional selections, depending on the track you’ve chosen. Some, for example, will ask you to choose between a stereo version, a surround-sound version, and a version with commentary. Others, specifically those from the Orgel-Büchlein and the 18 Chorales offer you the choice of a stereo version, a surround-sound version, the chorale with the text in English, or the chorale with the text in German.


In the “play all” mode, the prompting is limited to whether you want the stereo or the surround-sound version. The voice-over commentary in this mode is not an option, and the disc plays all the tracks continuously without user intervention, dispensing with the between-the-numbers rolling of credits.


If you don’t mind listening to the voice-over commentary offered on some of the tracks in the “play by organ mode”—which is of course optional, and not a feature on every track anyway—the narrations recorded by Whiteley himself are quite informative. The bonus feature in which Whiteley interviews Harvard professor Christoph Wolff is also quite interesting. Wolff is not only a musicologist, but also an expert on historical keyboard instruments. His knowledge of period organs—their design, registration, and even the significance of the artwork that adorns their casework and pipe ranks—is extensive; and it’s the discussion of organ building in Bach’s time, rather than of the composer’s organ works themselves, that makes the interview so absorbing.


This DVD may not be perfect in its utilization of the technology, but at least it makes a serious effort to offer something above and beyond the simple filming of a concert or recital event. And for that I give credit to all those involved in the making of it. If I haven’t addressed Whiteley’s performances, it’s not because his playing is anything less than technically accomplished or interpretively satisfying, it’s because the purpose of this disc strikes me as being in equal measure as educational as it is musical. The detailed booklet provides full specifications on the organs, and the highly intelligent essay text remains intelligible to the reader not versed in the more arcane aspects of musical analysis. Strongly recommended.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Prelude and Fugue in B minor, BWV 544 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1727-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
2. Trio Sonata for Organ no 2 in C minor, BWV 526 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1727; Leipzig, Germany 
3. Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; ?Weimar, Germany 
4. Vater unser im Himmelreich, BWV 682 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1739; Leipzig, Germany 
5. Chorale Preludes (6) BWV 645-650 "Schübler": no 2, Wo soll ich fliehen hin?, BWV 646 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1748-1749; Leipzig, Germany 
6. Chorale Preludes (6) BWV 645-650 "Schübler": no 1, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1748-1749; Leipzig, Germany 
7. Orgelbüchlein: Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten, BWV 642 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1714; Weimar, Germany 
8. Orgelbüchlein: Alle Menschen müssen sterben, BWV 643 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1713-1717; Weimar, Germany 
9. Orgelbüchlein: Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüchtig, BWV 644 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1714; Weimar, Germany 
10. Orgelbüchlein: Ich dich hab'ich gehoffet, Herr, BWV 640 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1714; Weimar, Germany 
11. Von Gott will ich nicht lassen, BWV 658 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1723; ?Weimar, Germany 
12. Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 545 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708-1717; Weimar, Germany 
13. Trio Sonata for Organ no 1 in E flat major, BWV 525 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1727; Leipzig, Germany 
14. Partite sopra Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig, BWV 768 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1700; Lüneburg, Germany 
15. Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr', BWV 662 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1723; ?Weimar, Germany 
16. Orgelbüchlein: Christ Lag in Todesbanden, BWV 625 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1713-1724; Weimar, Germany 
17. Orgelbüchlein: Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, BWV 626 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1713-1714; Weimar, Germany 
18. Orgelbüchlein: Erstanden ist der heil'ger Christ, BWV 628 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714-1715; Weimar, Germany 
19. Orgelbüchlein: Erschienen ist der herrliche Tag, BWV 629 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  John Scott Whiteley (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1714-1715; Weimar, Germany 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook