J S Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 5: arrangements

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COMPOSERS: J S Bach
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Bach piano transcriptions
WORKS: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 5: arrangements

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PERFORMER: by Goedicke, Kabalevsky, Catoire & Siloti
Hamish Milne (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67506
In this volume of Hyperion’s series of Bach piano transcriptions Hamish Milne concentrates on Russian and early-Soviet pianist-composers. These include representatives of the great Russian school of pianism, such as Siloti (pupil of Nikolay Rubinstein and Liszt, teacher of Rachmaninov), whose JSB-renderings here are the most intimate and thoughtful in their treatment of the text. Goedicke and Kabalevsky go for the monumental, seeking to outdo the organ in fullness of sonority. But best of all is the brilliant and grandiose transcription of the great C minor Passacaglia by Georgy Catoire, whose original works we are only beginning to rediscover (such as via Marc-André Hamelin’s recordings, also on Hyperion). Though Milne’s booklet notes speak of the arrangers’ ‘merciless demands’, his transcendental pianism seems ideal for this unusual repertoire. Calum MacDonald