Notes and Editorial Reviews
Brook Street Band
AVIE AV2199 (68:56)
Ever the pedagogue, Bach set out to create a set of training exercises that would strengthen the already formidable proficiency of his first son, Wilhelm Friedemann, on the organ. His purpose was as simple in theory as it is difficult in practice: to develop complete independence in playing three equal lines—one for the right hand, one for the left hand, and one for the feet. The resulting compositions, the
six trio sonatas for organ, are probably as close to quintessential Bach as are any of his instrumental works. Thus, there is an irresistible temptation for those who do not happen to play the organ to adapt the trios for their own use. It so happens that my favorite recording of the trios is one such adaptation, by oboist Heinz Holliger and friends on a Philips CD. That said, I’m leaning toward the Brook Street Band as a better option, especially for first-time listeners. For this recording the band is represented by a classic trio sonata ensemble: two violins (Rachel Harris and Farran Scott), a cello (founder Tatty Theo), and a harpsichord (Carolyn Gibley). The arrangement assigns the organ right hand to the first violin, the left hand to the second violin, and the pedal to the cello, with continuo support, not needed in the organ versions, provided by the harpsichord. The three voices are consistent throughout and equivalent in timbre, unlike the Holliger version, which is scored variously for oboe or oboe d’amore, viola or cello, and harpsichord, with Holliger generally dominant. Instrumentation aside, Brook Street’s stylishly lively performances convey a fine sense of what these marvelous scores are all about. Warmly recommended—but I’m still keeping the Holliger disc close at hand.
FANFARE: George Chien
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title