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Track(s) taken from CDD22062

Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV542


Christopher Herrick (organ)
Recording details: April 1993
Jesuitenkirche, Lucerne, Switzerland
Produced by Paul Spicer
Engineered by Paul Niederberger
Release date: October 1993
Total duration: 11 minutes 58 seconds
Fantasia  [6'03]
Fugue  [5'55]


'Herrick's musical inspiration, matched by his technique, does full justice to this pinnacle of the organ repertoire' (BBC Music Magazine Top 1000 CDs Guide)

'Yet another yardstick release from what seems to be an unbeatable team … I suspect I have already found my record of the year' (Gramophone)

'These incisive, illuminating performances … they continue to offer compulsory interpretation for anyone's library. Herrick approaches Bach with an interrogative direction that compels the imagination. In the warm, well-shaped acoustic of Lucerne's Jesuitenkirche he finds drama and strength of purpose, vibrancy and colour on a fine modern Metzler organ, and displays an impressively articulate, varied and telling range of gestures. Dip in at any point and you'll find something to please and provoke … the impeccable recorded sound is icing on the cake' (Choir & Organ)

'As emotionally compelling as it is authoritative. The instrument is ideal for the repertoire and it is superbly recorded' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'This is in every way a Bach recital out of the top drawer, played with magisterial authority on a magnificent organ' (Classic FM Magazine)
It is not known when the fantasia from the Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV542 became associated with the loosely constructed virtuoso pedal fugue which tradition has it Bach played to Buxtehude’s contemporary Reincken in Hamburg in 1720; its tuneful subject, very similar to a Dutch folktune, was used as a test in extempore fugal playing in the same city five years later. ‘The best of Bach’s pedal pieces’, wrote an early copyist at the end of it, and few could quarrel with his enthusiasm. The splendour of the fantasia, both aural and intellectual, would seem to indicate that it was written a good deal later; certainly the two contrasted ideas—mighty chords and rhetorical flourishes, and expressive, thoughtful counterpoint—are executed with masterly ease.

from notes by Robin Langley © 1993

On ne sait pas quand la Fantaisie et Fugue en sol mineur, BWV542 commença à être associée à la fugue pour pédale virtuose très librement construite que, selon la tradition, Bach joua, à Hambourg en 1720, devant le contemporain de Buxtehude, Reincken; son sujet mélodieux, très similaire à un chant populaire hollandais, fut utilisé comme un test d’interprétation impromptue de fugue, dans la même ville, cinq ans plus tard. «Le meilleur des morceaux pour pédale de Bach», écrivit un des premiers copistes, à la fin de celui-ci, et son enthousiasme est généralement partagé. La splendeur de la fantaisie, à la fois pour l’oreille et pour l’intellect, semblerait indiquer qu’elle fut composée bien plus tard; les deux idées contrastées—de puissants accords et des fioritures rhétoriques, et un contrepoint expressif, pensif sont certainement exécutées avec une maestria parfaite.

extrait des notes rédigées par Robin Langley © 1993
Français: Alain Midoux

Es ist nicht bekannt, wann die Verbindung zwischen der Fantasie und Fuge in g-Moll, BWV542 und der locker konstruierten virtuosen Pedalfuge entstand, die Bach der Überlieferung zufolge 1720 in Hamburg Buxtehudes Zeitgenossen Reincken vorgespielt haben soll. Ihr melodiöses Subjekt, das große Ähnlichkeiten mit einer holländischen Volksweise aufweist, wurde fünf Jahre später ebenfalls in Hamburg zur Prüfung der Fähigkeit zum fugalen Extemporespiel eingesetzt. Es sei das beste von Bachs Pedalwerken, vermerkte ein Notenschreiber unter einer frühen Kopie, und kaum jemand würde bestreiten, daß seine Begeisterung begründet war. Die akustische wie intellektuelle Vortrefflichkeit der Fantasie scheint darauf hinzudeuten, daß sie wesentlich später komponiert wurde; auf jeden Fall sind die zwei voneinander abgehobenen Themen—mächtige Akkorde, rhetorische Schnörkel und eindrucksvoller, wohlüberlegter Kontrapunkt—meisterhaft ausgeführt.

aus dem Begleittext von Robin Langley © 1993
Deutsch: Anne Steeb/Bernd Müller

Other albums featuring this work

Bach: The Complete Organ Works
CDS44121/3616CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted

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