East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Brad vs classical music: Hits of the seventeen-aughts

Bach, Great Organ Favorites (performed by E. Power Biggs)

Early music is something qualitatively different, and the Baroque, aside from one-hit wonders like Pachelbel and Jeremiah Clarke, wasn't up to much before Bach, so 1700 is a convenient time to declare war on classical music (or art music, if you want to be a dick about it). The pieces on this album are believed to be composed by Bach in his twenties, except for the much later "Wachet Auf" and for the "Jig Fugue", which he probably didn't write and is kind of trite anyway. There's also some scholarship suggesting the horror movie staple "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" isn't his: the "Toccata" sounds pretty different from the rest of his organ work, but on the other hand, nobody over the following 250 years wrote organ music of this quality -- maybe besides Mozart's ditties for mechanical organ, but probably not. There's no shortage of recordings; here, Biggs is lively yet precise, without heaviness for its own sake. If you like this, the logical next step would be Bach's Trio Sonatas in an organ version, or in Biggs's pedal harpsichord version.



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