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Concerto in A minor, RV522 BWV593

'Bach: Organ Music' (SIGCD261)
Bach: Organ Music
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'Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 4 – Samuel Feinberg' (CDA67468)
Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 4 – Samuel Feinberg
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'Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 10 – Saint-Saëns & Philipp' (CDA67873)
Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 10 – Saint-Saëns & Philipp
'Bach: The Italian Connection' (CDA66813)
Bach: The Italian Connection
'Bach: The Complete Organ Works' (CDS44121/36)
Bach: The Complete Organ Works
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Movement 1: Allegro

Track 4 on CDA66813 [4'00] Archive Service

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Track 4 on CDS44121/36 CD7 [4'00] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted
Movement 1: Allegro maestoso
Movement 2: Adagio
Movement 3: Allegro

Concerto in A minor, RV522 BWV593
Despite the thundering impact that it normally makes at first listening, the Concerto in A minor [after Vivaldi], BWV593 is probably the only one of these transcriptions that in places gives the impression of obsolescence and a certain pianistic grandiloquence. Our thoughts turn to the light and transparent sonority of Vivaldi’s original instrumental music, rather than to Bach’s organ transcription, and this creates expectations that are hardly compatible with the resulting sound of this piano transcription. Despite this, Feinberg here (and indeed later in the other pieces) found a convincing solution to certain problems inherent in the different natures of the organ and the piano – both in terms of sonority and also on a technical, practical level. For example, the alternating tutti and solo passages in various sequences – defined conveniently on the organ by changes of register – are rendered by Feinberg not only by means of dynamics but also by changes of articulation (for instance by the use of staccato in the solo passages), or by a lightening (or thickening) of the harmonic texture. This last solution is used in a special way in the sublime Adagio to distinguish between the translucent upper voices and the accompanying alto lines, here set in warmer relief – an effect Feinberg achieves harmonically with added sixths, thirds or tenths, by doublings or displacement an octave down. Feinberg thus positions himself very clearly in the matter of transcribing or adapting or rewriting or completely recreating the piece, and in this regard he is undeniably close to Bach’s transcription. Otherwise, apart from the essential indications of dynamics, articulation and phrasing, he uses a procedure that he was often to adopt in his later transcriptions: the ‘clear’ and full writing out of ornaments such as mordants and trills, doubtless for reasons connected with his teaching.

Feinberg also articulated his options concerning Bach transcriptions in an article entitled The Pianist’s Mastery:

What is fairest in a transcription? To force oneself to preserve the original text as precisely as possible – in the prior knowledge that, on the piano, an organ work’s expression will be significantly reduced? Or to try to find a maximum of light and shade, to create a sort of pianistic equivalent of the organ’s power, even if that implies an inevitable dose of enrichment and addition to what had originally been written? In each different situation, everything depends on the gifts and the artistic initiative of the contemporary pianist or composer who is preparing a transcription of a work by Bach. In other words, one might preserve the original text of a work almost completely – and, at the same time, smother the charm of the original in such a half-transcription. Or one might rework the original, creating a pianistic equivalent of it – and, despite everything, in so doing reveal the greatness of Bach’s music all the more strongly. (Translated into English by Andrew Barnett)

from notes by Christophe Sirodeau © 2004
English: Andrew Barnett

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Details for CDA67468 disc 2 track 2
Recording date
3 December 2003
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Jeremy Hayes
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 4 – Samuel Feinberg (CDA67468)
    Disc 2 Track 2
    Release date: September 2004
    2CDs for the price of 1
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