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Seltene und neu entdeckten Bach-Transkriptionen für Klavier,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Bach-Transkriptionen (Audio CD)
Almost from the year of Bach's death to the present day, the Leipzig master's voluminous output has been subjected to transcriptions for all manner of instruments, most numerous of which are the literally hundreds of transcriptions for piano. I have been collecting these piano transcriptions for several decades, both in score and on record, and yet every single one on this disc is new to me (with the exception of the final selection, Myra Hess's familiar 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring', here designated in the chorale's original German as 'Jesus bleibet meine Freude'). There is a valuable recent book on the subject -- Arthur Schranz's J.S. Bach in der Klaviertranskriptionen (Verlag Karl Dieter Wagner, Eisenach 2000, ISBN 3-88070-082-8)-- which provided some of the research for the works presented here. They are played here by a German professor of piano at the Robert Schumann College in Düsseldorf, Angelika Nebel, in straightforward performances that may not be the last word in virtuosity but do seem to honor the intentions of the transcriptions.
These transcriptions span about 150 years, from Robert Franz (1815-1892) to Frank Zabel (b.1968) and the source material varies from chorale tunes (e.g. 'Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend' BWV632) to a violin sonata (Sonata for Solo Violin in G Minor, BWV1001) to a secular cantata aria ('Zu Tanze zu Sprunge' from 'Phoebus und Pan', BWV201) to a Suite in C Minor, BWV997 for 'Lautenwerk' (a kind of harpsichord with gut strings), to a piece from the Orgelbüchlein, BWV614. Some transcriptions are fairly straightforward, and others have been moved into a different key, padded out with additional harmonies (usually more Romantic in style), had the vertical arrangement of their voices rearranged and so on. Nebel even adds her own modest emendations to Stradal's transcription of a chorale tune. If nothing else this all demonstrates how malleable Bach's music is. After all, who else has had any of his works arranged for koto ensemble or jazz vocal group? (Well, come to think of it, perhaps Vivaldi as well.)
All the arrangements here are range from competent (August Stradal) to extraordinary (Hess, of course, and the two settings by Walter Rummel (1887-1953): 'Zu Tanze zu Sprunge' & 'Ertödt' uns durch dein Gute', the latter from BWV22.
All in all a satisfying of mostly unfamiliar piano transcriptions by the greatest master of them all, Johann Sebastian Bach. My only cavil is at the high price for the CD (which I tend to believe is a misprint by Amazon); the mp3 download is much more reasonably priced.