Melba Recordings

"... a label of fragrant distinction"

There are no products in your shopping cart.

Order for delivery by post$25.00 Buy
Download entire release:
J.S. Bach
Organ Works: The Leipzig Chorales
1980 Ahrend organ in Monash University, Melbourne

John O'Donnell (Organ)

Composer(s):  Bach
Catalogue Number:  MR301084-2
"O'Donnell provides us with a refreshingly new interpretation of the work ... " Organ Music Society of Adelaide (Australia)
"His playing is precise and clean... many will find the textural precision and clarity... to their taste... the recording... exemplary." Gramophone (UK)
"...wide-ranging in conception and expression ... the perfect vehicle for revealing the marvellously diverse colours of the Ahrend..." The Age 'Green Guide' (Australia)
"...This is a musical experience to be treasured." Organo Pleno (Australia)
"Thanks to the Ahrend organ's colours and O'Donnell's imaginative stop-pulling, the variety is immense..." Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

2 CD set.    Renowned Bach scholar and performer John O’Donnell brings a life of research and consideration to his masterful performances of Bach’s Leipzig chorales

This is the quintessential Bach, the Bach whose maxim was "Everything must be possible". Bach at the instrument he loved above all others, and understood to perfection: the instrument that occupies all four limbs plus the full capacity of the brain, as it negotiates polyphony in up to seven voices at a time.

John O'Donnell's recording of the great Leipzig chorales comes after three decades of performing these works internationally. The instrument on which he performs is the 1980 Ahrend organ at Monash University, Melbourne, recognised widely as an instrument ideal for the performance of Bach's music having being built to specifications laid out by the master himself.

Read more

J.S. Bach

Track Listing

1
1 Toccata in C (BVW 564) 15:07 Preview $4.80    Buy
2 Fantasia super Komm Heiliger Geist (BWV651) 6:39 Preview $2.40    Buy
3 Komm, Heiliger Geist (BWV 653) 9:49 Preview $2.40    Buy
4 An Wasserflussen Babylon (BWV653) 5:24 Preview $2.40    Buy
5 Schmucke dich, o liebe Seele (BWV 654) 7:58 Preview $2.40    Buy
6 Trio super Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend (BWV 655) 3:32 Preview $1.20    Buy
7 O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig (BWV 656) 7:59 Preview $2.40    Buy
8 Nun danket alle Gott (BWV 657) 4:46 Preview $1.20    Buy
9 Von Gott will ich nicht lassen (BWV 658) 3:28 Preview $1.20    Buy
10 Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (BWV 659) 3:48 Preview $1.20    Buy
11 Trio super Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (BWV 660) 3:21 Preview $1.20    Buy
12 Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (BWV 661) 3:00 Preview $1.20    Buy
2
1 Allein Gott in der Hoh' sei Ehr' (BWV 662) 7:58 Preview $2.40    Buy
2 Allein Gott in der Hoh' sei Ehr' (BWV 663) 6:35 Preview $2.40    Buy
3 Trio super Allein Gott in der Hoh' sei Ehr' (BWV 664) 5:27 Preview $2.40    Buy
4 Jesus Christus, unser Heiland (BWV 665) 5:08 Preview $2.40    Buy
5 Jesus Christus, unser Heiland (BWV 666) 3:43 Preview $1.20    Buy
6 Komm, Gott Schopfer, heiliger Geist (BWV 667) 2:27 Preview $1.20    Buy
7 Von Himmel hoch, da komm ich her (BWV 669a) 13:44 Preview $3.60    Buy
8 Vor deinen Thon tret' ich (BWV 668 & 668a) 5:08 Preview $2.40    Buy
9 Passacaglia (BWV 582) 13:41 Preview $3.60    Buy
Order for delivery by post$25.00 Buy
Download entire release:

John O'Donnell (Organ)

Bach

Bach at the Organ

by John O’Donnell

One cannot know Bach without knowing Bach the organist. This is the quintessential Bach, the Bach whose maxim was “Es muß alles möglich zu machen seyn” (“Everything must be possible”). Bach at the instrument he loved above all others, and understood to perfection: the instrument that occupies all four limbs plus the full capacity of the brain, as it negotiates polyphony in up to seven voices at a time.

For many music lovers, mention of Bach’s organ works immediately brings to mind the so-called “Toccata and Fugue in D minor”, an unfortunate state of affairs, considering that the work in question is almost certainly not by Bach, and simply cannot stand beside the three great organ toccatas (BWV 538, 540 and 564) that are without doubt the work of the master!

The program assembled on these two discs presents many facets of Bach’s genius as an organist. First we hear Bach the virtuoso, in one of the three genuine toccatas. This includes a pedal solo that recalls a contemporary report of his playing: “…he ran over the pedals…as if his feet had wings, making the organ resound with such fullness…that Frederick, the legitimate hereditary Prince of Cassel, admired him with such astonishment that he drew a ring with a precious stone from his finger and gave it to Bach..what, I ask, would the Prince have given him if he called his hands into service as well?” Next we hear Bach the Lutheran, developing the hymn melodies of his day into polyphonic gems for the organ. The origin of such pieces was the improvisation of an introduction to the singing of the chorales, a tradition still alive in Germany today. However, the chorales in this collection go far beyond the call of such liturgical duties, elaborating the melodies in a variety of manners, here an expressive slow movement, there a bouncy trio, elsewhere a magnificent maze of sound for the full organ. Finally we hear Bach the supreme musical architect, in a passacaglia. This was initially a dance, but by Bach’s time denoted a set of continuous variations over a repeated bass theme that dwarfs those of his musical forebears. Not content with twenty variations exploiting a variety of textures, from one to six voices, Bach explodes into a double fugue of relentless energy, seemingly unstoppable in its exploration of musical possibilities.

Executive Producer

Maria Vandamme

Tonmeister

Phil Rowlands

Editing

Thomas Grubb & Richard Girvan

Recording Dates

January 2000