The #1 Bach Album

The #1 Bach Album


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A compilation of this kind is at its best when it passes three basic tests. It shouldn't scrawl on the Mona Lisa. It should offer skillful, exciting performances, not stuff that tanked when first released. And ideally, it should make musical sense as a whole. The #1 Bach Album easily passes the first two tests, but seems only dimly aware of the third. All the music on the album is played straight; many works are represented in single-movement excerpts, but there's even a complete "Italian Concerto" performed by the redoubtable Alfred Brendel. The performances included are perennials from the Universal-family catalog, with representation of both traditional and "historically informed" performance approaches. Performers include Trevor Pinnock, András Schiff, Narciso Yepes, and Karl Richter with his Munich Bach Orchestra. The name of German organist Helmut Walcha is misspelled as "Wacha" -- a sure sign of cursory attention. Most of the expected Bach greatest hits are indeed on hand, but they're in no particular order. The toccata from the "Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565" and the prelude from the "Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532" are followed not by their own fugues, but by the "Little Fugue in G minor, BWV 578." Sometimes successive works create a tritone clash or other sharp readjustment as the listener moves from one work to another. Nor is it clear why there are two discs, beyond the fact that by inserting both, buyers could increase Bach density in their CD changers. Nothing's objectionable about this release, but it leaves the impression that someone got on e-mail and ordered 150 minutes of Bach to be shipped out to the plant. Getting Bach into Wal-Mart is a good idea, but once listeners are hooked they could want more to chew on.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/14/2003
Label: Decca
UPC: 0028947275824
catalogNumber: 472758
Rank: 114991


  1. Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major, BWV 1047: Allegro assai
  2. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9): Aria
  3. Overture in the French Manner, partita for keyboard in B minor (Clavier-Übung II/2), BWV 831: Echo
  4. Partita for keyboard No. 1 in B flat major, BWV 825 (BC L1): Praeludium
  5. Partita for solo violin No. 3 in E major, BWV 1006: Preludio
  6. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: Air
  7. Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B flat major, BWV 1051: Allegro
  8. Cantata No. 147, "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben," BWV 147 (BC A174): Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
  9. Toccata and Fugue, for organ in D minor, BWV 565 (BC J37)
  10. Prelude and Fugue, for organ in D major ("Little"), BWV 532 (BC J13, 54, 70): Prelude
  11. Fugue for organ in G minor ("Little"), BWV 578 (BC J66)
  12. Italian Concerto, for solo keyboard in F major (Clavier-Übung II/1), BWV 971 (BC L7)
  13. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052: Allegro
  14. Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050: Allegro
  15. Suite for solo cello No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007: Prelude
  16. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067
  17. Suite for lute in E minor, BWV 996 (BC L166): Bourrée
  18. Cantata No. 208, "Was mir behagt," (Hunt Cantata), BWV 208 (BC G1, G3): Sheep May Safely Graze
  19. Two-Part Invention, for keyboard No. 4 in D minor, BWV 775 (BC L45)
  20. Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 5 in D major (WTC I/5), BWV 850 (BC L84)
  21. Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, for keyboard in D minor, BWV 903 (BC L34)
  22. Bist du bei mir, aria arranged for voice & continuo (after Gottfried Stölzel), BWV 508
  23. Jesu, meine Freude, motet for 5-part chorus, BWV 227 (BC C5): Jesu, Priceless Treasure
  24. Toccata, Adagio and Fugue, for organ in C major, BWV 564 (BC J36): Fugue
  25. Komm, süsser Tod, for voice & continuo (Schemelli Gesangbuch No. 868), BWV 478 (BC F227)
  26. Cantata No. 156, "Ich steh mit einem Fuss im Grabe," BWV 156 (BC A38): Sinfonia
  27. Concerto for violin, strings & continuo No. 1 in A minor, BWV 1041: Andante
  28. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056: Largo
  29. Cantata No. 140, "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme," BWV 140 (BC A166): Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
  30. Suite for solo cello No. 6 in D major, BWV 1012: Gigue
  31. The Musical Offering (Musikalisches Opfer), for keyboard and chamber instruments, BWV 1079: Fugue ricercata à 6
  32. Magnificat, for 5 voices, 5-part chorus, orchestra & continuo in D major, BWV 243 (BC E14): Magnificat anima mea

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