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Play Bach N. 1 Original recording remastered

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Jacques Loussier was born in Angers, in northwestern France, October 26, 1934. He started playing piano at the age of ten and quickly demonstrated tremendous ability. When Loussier was just sixteen, he entered the Conservatoire Nationale de Musique in Paris where he studied with Professor Yves Nat whose youthful compositions were praised by Faure and Saint-Saëns, and whose prodigious ... Read more in Amazon's Jacques Loussier Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Play Bach N. 1 + Play Bach N. 2 + Play Bach N 3
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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 Mar 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B00004SUZU
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 98,823 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Prélude N 1 En Ut Majeur BWV 846 5:23£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Fugue N 1 En Ut Majeur BWV 846 5:00£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Prélude N 2 En Ut Majeur BWV 847 4:18£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Fugue N 2 En Ut Mineur BWV 847 2:45£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Toccata Et Fugue BWV 565 En Re Mineur 8:53Album Only
Listen  6. Prélude N 8 En Ré Dièse Majeur BWV 853 4:53£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Prélude N 5 En Ré Majeur BWV 850 1:51£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Fugue N 5 En Ré Majeur BWV 850 1:49£0.99  Buy MP3 

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. P. Dibley on 11 Nov 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I originally had the album back in 1963, and subsequently bought No's 2 & 3. Mr. Loussier probably owes quite a lot to the Hamlet cigar adverts from the sixties through to the eighties. The music was always affectionatly known as "buggered Bach" by the rest of the family, who actually enjoyed the music as much as me. Today it's good to get it all on C.D's. The quality is very good although the stereo "splitting" of the time, (1959), sounds strange now, with the piano coming from one speaker and the bass and drums from the other. No's 1 - 5 are all a must have.
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By Lewis Graham VINE VOICE on 10 Aug 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you're reading this, I expect you've either heard the name and are wondering what it's all about or know the music and want it on CD. For that latter, there's more below.

For the former, Jacques Loussier was a worldwide smash hit with these jazz arrangements of Bach. Similar in style to Dave Brubeck or The Modern Jazz Quartetin many ways, these arrangements swing along at a respectful but enjoyable pace. The original music is well represented and recognisable by those who have heard the originals. The ensemble playing is excellent - this is well rehearsed, well played chamber jazz.

The idea of arranging JS Bach is not universally popular: some regard these tracks as a terrible idea, taking a classic and reforming it. As to how to settle that discussion, the individual listener can make up their own minds.

For the owner of an LP of this music, this is an excellent reissue. The sound quality is superb - given the recordings are 50+ years old - and allow the performance to breathe.

For my own part, I hadn't heard this music for a very long time, but now I understand why my Father played them endlessly. As I come from this music from a classical background I might, just, fell a little guilty about someone rearranging such a great composer. But when it's this well done, there's no reason not to enjoy it.

PS - In a recent concert programme, Joanna MacGregor mentioned that JL's arrangement of one a piece from the "48" was her favourite arrangement - high praise indeed!
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13 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Feb 2001
Format: Audio CD
Just imagine one of the greatest classical composers such as Bach erupting into an jazzy piano improvisation half way through one of his compositions. This really sums up the whole CD. Lucier is maybe one of the most skilled pianists to have ever been able to change the way anyone has has ever heard classical music. Great stuff!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Loussier fans should thank Decca for these reissues 23 May 2001
By Philip J. Dickman - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I have been familiar with Jacques Loussier's work for about five years. This album as well as his more recent Telarc work show that he is a master of swinging the classics. This volume one Play Bach album is one of his earliest ventures into the genre that he helped to pioneer. Those that listen to this album and to his Bach Albums on the Telarc label will hear how Loussier's playing has matured with his age. He plays roughly, with a more bouncy feel in this album, and his improvisations smoothened with age and musical development. Nevertheless, this album is very muscial, with many wonderful moments throughout. For those new to this genre, I recommend trying this album out if the listener appreciates either jazz or classical music. It will most certainly appeal to both audiences.
For those who enjoy this album, the Decca volume two is also very nice, as well as any of the Telarc releases.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
classical jazz 20 Jan 2009
By Sara Mccracken - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have loved the Jacques Loussier Trio since the 1960's. Actually, although I loved most classical music, I didn't like J S Bach much up until then. No-one has ever managed to do what they do with such finesse. I decided it was time to re-buy them in CD format , so I bought Play Bach albums 1 through 5 for myself just before christmas. I hope to convert my kids when they are home by playing the music. I am an artist and find the music to be very peaceful yet energizing and it helps my focus and creativity. This is gentle jazz for beginners based on the well known works of Bach. Highly recommended!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very respectful of Bach, in fact 7 April 2011
By Discophage - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Yes, 1959 and Jacques Loussier's Opus One and the album that overnight turned what had been a conservatory joke (jazzyfying Bach and occasioning good laughs with the buddies) into a chart-hitting phenomenon. It also more or less confined Loussier into the cross-over genre. Did music gain or loose? Crossover certainly gained. Judging from Loussier's remarkable pianistic abilities and sure and sound judgment on playing Bach (in times when it wasn't so customary to publicly play Bach at the piano), "straight" Classical music did loose what Crossover gained. Oh well - many good classical pianists, but only one Loussier.

It's interesting to take Bach's scores and see how Loussier's Jazz functions. In fact, it is very respectful of Bach. After short jazzy intros, Preludes 1 & 2 from the Book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier are first played straight in their entirety, with only double bass and drum accompaniment providing the jazz coloring: I find that it sounds entirely natural, and not like an out-of-place sonic graft. Then Loussier segues with a an impro based more or less on the prelude. More in the case of prelude 2, using various processes of syncopation, changing melody into chords, or doubling the note values so to give the impression of acceleration while retaining the same tempo, regularly returning to the straight score as a manner of anchoring, and altogher omitting not one bar; less in Prelude 1 - here the coda, taken at double the speed, provides the Bach anchoring. The two corresponding fugues also start straight, with the double bass substituting for the piano's left hand (and that alone is enough to provide a jazz coloring), but the impro starts earlier, inside the initial statement. Likewise with the mighty Toccata and Fugue BWV 565: for over two minutes, Loussier plays (extremely well) exactly what Bach wrote; the jazzification is provided only by double bass and drums. At 2:04, just before the start of the fugue, Loussier starts syncopating the left-hand, then improvises on and over Bach with the same processes as in Prelude 2, while closely following score (again not one bar is skiped) and regularly returning to straight Bach. Prelude 8 is directly varied (and if I am not mistaken Bach's 3/2 time signature is changed into a typical jazz 4/2), with an interesting sonic effect by percussionist using, if ears serve, tambourine in an obsessive ostinato. Prelude 5 is played straight (always drum and double bass), then interrupted by Loussier's impro, and then resumed where it had stopped, until the end. Fugue 5 is played in its entirety but brilliantly improvised.

In fact, "improvisations" may not be an entirely appropriate word. None of this sounds as it had been invented on the spur of the moment during the recording sessions. Obviously it was carefully planned, written and rehearsed. So one should talk about Loussier's "jazz variations" on Bach. I've updated Amazon's product info on another of these Loussier CDs I tried to get Loussier credited as composer alongside Bach; that part was refused by Amazon, referencing him only as performer. Shows they haven't listened.

Loussier's jazz isn't very radical and demanding. It is agreeable, cool, easy listening, which may be good for some listeners and frustrating for some others; I am somewhere in between. It is interesting also to compare some of the pieces recorded here and their remakes on the occasion of the 1965 live concert at the Theâtre des Champs-Elysées (Play Bach: Aux Champs-Elysees). Things are not always comparable. In the Prelude No. 2 from WTC, in the live concert Loussier plays only the first part, Bach straight with accompanying drum and double-bass, but no ensuing variation. But where Loussier 1965 does follow the wake of Loussier 1959, one can hear that he and his partners had had six years to mature, not so much their Bach as their Jazz. In the 1959 WTC Prelude 1 the jazz is more joyous and carefree, more big-band inspired, but less subtle and more superficial also. As good as the 1959 Toccata & Fugue is, the jazz in the 1965 remake is even better, and there is an great, outlandish drum impro in the middle adding three and a half minutes to its total time. And there's the added kick of the live circumstances.

So the 1965 live concert is, I think, the best intro to the early Loussier. But Play Bach 1, despite its short TT (35:11, OK for an LP, twice too short for a CD), remains a highly enjoyable disc, recorded in fine 1959 stereo.
Quality is improved over the LP. 6 Sep 2013
By Chuck Heinle - Published on
Verified Purchase
I had the lp and loaned it to someone who never returned it. It was good to get the music back.
I saw Jacques Loussier in person and enjoyed the concert. This CD brings back the memories.
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