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Bach/Stokowski - orchestral arrangements


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Product details

  • Orchestra: Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Leopold Stokowski
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (18 Mar. 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classical
  • ASIN: B000002S9M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 462,374 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Passacaglia & Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582
2. 'Komm, susser Tod,' BWV 478
3. English Suite No. 2, BWV 807: Bourree
4. Violin Partita In B Minor, BWV 1002: Sarabande
5. Cantata No. 80, BWV 80: 'Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott'
6. Christmas Oratorio BWV 248: Shepard's Song
7. Little Fugue In G Minor, BWV 578
8. Orchestral Suite No. 3 BWV, 1068: Air On The G String
9. 'Mein Jesu, was fur Seelenweh befallt dich in Gethsemane,' BWV 487
10. Violin Partita No. 3, BWV 1006: Preludio
11. Toccata & Fugue In D Minor, BWV 565

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 15 July 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I realise I shall be flying in the face of received opinion here on Amazon but previous reviews have frequently acknowledged that this schmaltzy kind of take on Bach is something you either like or don't; the other factor is that many older listeners grew up with these arrangements as their introduction to a composer who was relatively neglected until the 60's and thus have an understandable nostalgic affection for them. Lastly, it tends to be only those who like the disc in question who review it; I wanted to but found too many obstacles. Anyway, here's my take on this disc:

I am normally a great lover and defender of both Stokowski and of Bach played in traditional or Romantic style but my musical sensibilities revolted when, having ordered this disc with a sense of a treat in store, I played it first - then again a few times at intervals to see if something extraneous like my mood was altering my reaction to it or whether I needed to grow into the idiom. I've tried to think of it as just good fun but I don't actually feel that many of these arrangements really capture the spirit of the music.

So alas, my response remained the same: this often does Bach no great service. Favorite pieces here are not all well served by Stokowski's lugubrious tempi and fussily alternated orchestration; it's as if you can hear Stokowski as orchestrator thinking, "First a twiddle by the flutes, then a roll on the drums, then a few bars for viola" - it's like watching a carefully rehearsed circus act whereby cute animals do tricks. One reviewer remarks that Stokowski is too conservatively dependent on strings but I hear a lot of trumpets in some tracks - and pretty vulgar they are, too.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 22 April 2010
Format: Audio CD
Of all the recordings of Bach transcriptions I have (and I have a lot!), this is the one I listen to most. The passacaglia and fugue in C minor is simply stunning. No other transcription/performance/recording available comes close to this one. And the other pieces are no less exquisite. Believe me, Stokowski's "Komm, susser Tod" can reduce you to tears whilst the Sarabande from the Violin Partita No 1 in B minor is simply devastating. The string players in "Mein Jesu" perform sumptuously, and at times we can hear individual vibrato which is gorgeously wide and slow. Overall, this is a beautifully crafted album and one well worth investing in.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Stokowski, the forgotten master of this century 3 Mar. 2001
By M. Mclain - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I recall as a kid listening to my parents tape of Stokowski conducts Bach in the car. I adored the Little fugue in G minor. I spent a long time looking for his work on CD, and this disc is it. It's beautifully recorded (Stokowski was the first conducter to look at a recording as a work of art, not just a reproduction of a performance). Of course, it's not what Bach wrote... it's important to realize that these works become a collaberation between Stokowski and Bach--and a successful one at that. The point is not whether it is what Bach wrote (recall of course that Bach did the same thing to the masters he admired (and either way, it's of no matter. the only thing that matters is the work itself)). The music is dramatic, it's beautiful, and it's brilliant. A Mighty Fortress is unimaginably rich, this is definitely a must have recording.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Great Bach transcriptions by a great Bach performer. 26 Aug. 2002
By D. R. Schryer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Leopold Stokowski was one of the greatest conductors -- and musical geniuses -- of the 20th century. But before he was a conductor he was an organist, and he had a special love for the music of Bach. After he switched from the organ to conducting Stokowski transcribed many of Bach's organ works for orchestra so that he could expose them to a wider audience. His transcriptions, which were initially quite controversial, are now recognized as masterpieces which other conductors now perform. But no one performs them with quite the genius, dedication, and love as Stokowski did. This CD presents several of the greatest Bach/Stokowski transcriptions conducted by Stokowski himself and at a bargain price. Who knows how long it will be available? Please do yourself a favor and get it while you can.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
this will rock your world 14 Nov. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
One of the pieces on this CD is Stokowski's arrangement of one of Schemelli songs by Bach, "Mein Jesu, was für Seelenweh befallt dich in Gethsemane." A very simple song, I remember it as an exercise in figured bass at school. When I heard Stokowski's rendition of it, I was shocked by the immediacy of the emotion. I could not believe what I heard. This type of musicianship is absolutely devastating. None of the living musicians can possibly apporoach this. His handling of the string section is not of this world, it will leave you breathless. Just listen to his phrasing -- and you will be undone in a minute. And this is just a simple 3 minute devotional song...
Of course, there are other arrangemets -- the organ Passacaglia is outstanding. Stokowski was trained first as organist, came here to the US from England, worked at St. Bartholomew Church in New York, then discovered a conductor in himself. I don't think he ever studied conducting; he just invented his own conducting technique, and it worked for him well. But what a musician!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Heavenly Bach 17 Dec. 2004
By M. A. STOUT - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
When I was 12 years old I was madly in love with Leopold Stokowski. Now I'm 74 and after hearing this CD I find I'm still in love with him. This is a whole new dimension of Bach. Stokowski's arrangements are lyrical and dramatic, refreshing and romantic. A totally delightful rendition of Bach's music that will soothe your heart and refresh your soul. To be listened to with an open mind. Enjoy!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Magnificent 25 July 2005
By Das Bassmeister - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As a professional classical musician and deep lover of the works of J.S. Bach, I believe these transcriptions and performances of his works would have greatly pleased the master. This album is a magnificent work; especially, but not limited to, the incredible full orchestra arrangement of the most famous Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. It will simply take your breath away with its awesome majesty. You will not regret purchasing this!
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