We have here another of the quadraphonic recordings Philips made in the early 1970s for possible commercial release on LP, but then realized the quad disc formats were really not viable and shelved the tapes. Until now, when the four channels on the tapes can be properly realized via multichannel SACD. One would never realize listening to this first rate disc that the original recordings are over 30 years old. Neither the center channel nor sub channel are missed in the least. In fact the lowest organ pipes sound forth with the beginning bass theme of the Passacaglia with room-shaking low end force. This is Bach’s only organ work in the form of a Passacaglia.The concluding 16-minute Liszt work is rarely heard and makes a good balance against the overplayed Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Liszt used just a bass line from the Bach cantata in his highly improvised-sounding variations. The theme serves as foundation for a passacaglia which becomes quite complex rhythmically. The work ends with a quote from the concluding chorale of the same Bach cantata. The recordings were made on pipe organs in two different Dutch churches, and the impression of the church acoustics is strong in both.
– John Sunier