VIVALDI: Six Concertos in arrangements by J.S. Bach and Gunther Rost – Gunther Rost, Hildebrandt Organ – Oehms Classics

by | Jun 22, 2010 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

VIVALDI: Six Concertos in arrangements by J.S. Bach and Gunther Rost – Gunther Rost, Hildebrandt organ – Oehms Classics multichannel SACD OC642, 72:00 [Distr. by Naxos] ****:

There are three concerto arrangements each from Bach and organist Rost.  Bach transcribed the concertos in A minor and D minor from L’Estro Armonico of Vivaldi plus the C Major concerto Il grosso Mogul.  Musicologists feel that Bach also arranged other Vivaldi string concertos for organ that have been lost. In fact at one point Bach evidently had the idea of transcribing “all” of Vivaldi’s concertos to keyboard instruments. Organist Rost remedies this situation somewhat by arranging three other Vivaldi concerti: ones in A minor and F Major from L’Estro Armonico plus one in G Major from La Stravaganza. Rost followed Bach’s own practices in transcribing the three concerti, so the grouping sounds all of a piece. Bach’s transcriptions for harpsichord – including the one for four harpsichords and orchestra – were his models. There are other recordings of some of the Bach concerto arrangements on both organ and harpsichord, but not this particular set nor on SACD.

These concerti were central in Bach’s self-taught musical development.  He studied their voice-leading and modulations, and solved some of the problems that came up where certain passages didn’t transfer well to the keyboard and he had to create workable substitutions.  The first one in A minor RV 522 is probably the most familiar to most listeners. In three movements, it has a great majesty and strength in its transformation from the concerto for strings. All of the concerti except RV 565 in D minor are in three movements – that one has five short movements. The Hildebrandt organ in St. Wenzel’s, Naumburg, Germany, is regarded as perfect for performance of Bach’s works, since the composer himself probably developed its disposition together with the builder of the pipe organ.  The 5.0 surround sonics are superb.

 – John Sunier

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