Notes and Editorial Reviews
The most famous scion of a musical family which stretched across at least ten generations, Johann Sebastian Bach had a very strong sense of history, tradition, and his evolving place in it, and was instrumental in curating and adding to the library of the music of the Bachs, which was known as the Altbachisches Archiv. This archive mostly comprises vocal music; now the Italian organist has created a fascinating instrumental counterpart, with short organ works by ten members of the family ranging from Heinrich Bach (1615--1692) to Wilhelm Friedemann Ernst Bach (1779--1845). And so, during the course of the disc, we move, always guided by the constraints of Protestant thought and liturgy, through austere low Baroque chorales to spectacular,
Militello has chosen an organ of ideal size and disposition for this repertoire: a new instrument, built to Baroque specifications within the vestry of the magnificent Lower Austrian Benedictine Abbey of Melk, overlooking the Danube on a rocky outcrop and providing a dramatic backdrop to what is already music of continually shifting rhetoric and invention.
- The great Johann Sebastian received his musical genes from a widespread dynasty of musical craftsmen, teachers, performers, composers, bearing the name of Bach. This CD features not less than 10 composers from the Bach family, ranging from Heinrch Bach (1615-1692) to Friedemann Ernst Bach (1779-1845), without including the more famous offspring of the master (C.P.E., J.C. and W.F. Bach).
- Played on a beautiful new organ in the Chapel of the famous monastery of Melk in Austria.
- Liner notes written by the artist, information on the organ included.
R E V I E W: 3713570.zz4_BACH_FAMILY_ORGAN_MUSIC.html
BACH FAMILY ORGAN MUSIC • Sergio Militello (org) • BRILLIANT 94483 (47: 04)
This CD provides a nice sampler of organ music by the prolific and widespread Bach clan. The progenitor of the main Bach family line was Veit Bach (?–1619), a miller who sired two musician sons: Johannes (“Hans”) Bach I (1550–1626), and Philippus (“Lips”) Bach (1590–1620). Johannes in turn had three sons, from who stemmed three of the four major musical lines of the Bach family: Johannes (“Hans”) Bach III (1604–73), founder of the Erfurt Line; Christoph Bach (1613–61), founder of the main line leading directly to Johann Sebastian Bach (hereafter “J. S.” for simplicity); and Heinrich Bach (1615–92), founder of the Arnstädt Line. The fourth major line descended through Philippus Bach; a fifth line that stemmed from Caspar Bach (1570–164), a brother of Veit Bach, died out early during the 1630s.
The particular members of that musical dynasty featured here, and their relations to J. S., are as follows:
Heinrich Bach (1615–92), founder of the Arnstädt Line.
Johann Christoph Bach (1642–1703), Heinrich’s son and second cousin to J. S.
Johann Michael Bach (1648–94), also Heinrich’s son and later father-in-law to J. S. through his daughter, Maria Barbara Bach (1684–1720).
Johann Bernhard Bach (1676–1749), another second cousin of J. S. and member of the Erfurt Line.
Johann Lorenz Bach (1695–1773), a first cousin of J. S. and grandson of Christoph Bach in the main family line.
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710–84), the second son of J. S. by his first wife.
Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach (1714–88), the fourth son of J. S. by his first wife.
Johann Ernst Bach (1722–77), the second son of Johann Bernhard Bach in the Erfurt Line.
Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach (1732–95), the second son of J. S. by his second wife, Anna Magdalena Wilcke (1701–60).
Johann Christoph Bach (1743–1814), the third son of J. S. by his second wife.
Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach (1759–1845), a son of Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach and the last male scion of the family line descended through J. S.
As the dates of the composers’ lives indicate, the styles of music represented here range primarily from the early to late baroque, followed by the galant and Rococo styles of the early Classical era, and finishing with a single representative from the early Romantic era. All the works are given fine performances and are well recorded. The booklet for this disc provides brief notes on each of the composers, an equally brief note on organist Sergio Militello, and basic specifications for the organ. My one complaint is that, even at Brilliant’s budget price, this disc is a poor value in terms of its short timing; why weren’t several other short works by still more members of the Bach dynasty included? Unfortunately a well-filled competing disc on the Hänssler label, played by Franz Haselböck, is presently out of print, so if this program appeals to you this is your one readily available choice, and is recommended accordingly.
FANFARE: James A. Altena
Works on This Recording
Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott
Prelude and Fugue in E-Flat Major: Prelude
Prelude and Fugue in E-Flat Major: Fugue
Wenn mein Stundlein vorhanden ist
Du Friedefurst, Herr Jesu Christ: Chorale 1
Du Friedefurst, Herr Jesu Christ: Variation 1
Du Friedefurst, Herr Jesu Christ: Chorale 2
Du Friedefurst, Herr Jesu Christ: Variation 2
Du Friedefurst, Herr Jesu Christ: Chorale 3
Prelude and Fugue in D Major: Fugue
8 Fugues, Fk. 31: Fugue No. 2 in C Minor
Rondo in G Major, Wq. 57/3, H. 271
Fantasia and Fugue in F Major: Fantasia
Fantasia and Fugue in F Major: Fugue
Fugue on B-A-C-H, W. YA50
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