COMPOSERS: JS Bach
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
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.
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