JS Bach

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COMPOSERS: JS Bach
LABELS: Vivat
ALBUM TITLE: JS Bach
WORKS: Bach in Montecassino: Chorale Preludes, BWV 753 & BWV 668a; Duettos Nos 1-4, BWV 802-805 etc
PERFORMER: Luca Guglielmi (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: VIVAT 108

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Vivaldi’s seismic impact on Bach is well known. But how, in turn, was Bach received in Italy? Luca Guglielmi’s disc gives a lively snapshot of what at least might have been heard; and, thanks to an instrument built in the year before Bach’s death and located in the Church of San Nicolao, Alice Castello, how it must have sounded too.

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The programme’s focus is the great monastery of Montecassino. A Bach harvest was donated to it by Friedrich Wilhelm Rust who was gratified to find a piece by the Thomaskantor on the organ’s music desk when he visited in 1766. Included, too, is a prelude and fugue – better known (in modified form) as the opening to the second Book of the ‘48’ – from the library of Padre Martini of Bologna. A version of the Chromatic Fantasia is dispatched with such breezy panache that it sounds entirely at home on the organ – if a tad unrelenting. There’s a relentless drive also to the Fugue on the Magnificat which shows off the instrument’s majestic ‘organo pleno’; and, clad in fruity registrations, how much more than two-part inventions the Four Duetti of Clavierübung III sound. Thoughtfully programmed, Guglielmi’s Italian perspective intrigues. Paul Riley