Catoire’s music is notable for its delicacy and harmonic refinement but, when faced with Bach’s mighty Passacaglia
, he too adopts the epic style. In Eugen d’Albert’s better known transcription the music grows from a contained and dignified opening, but Catoire unleashes the mighty roar of the romantic instrument from the start (fortissimo pesante
) and he is concerned throughout with the picturesque characterization of each individual variation through changes of texture and register. His determination, at the same time, that not one note of Bach’s should be lost in the process puts merciless demands on the performer.
from notes by Hamish Milne © 2005