Exercitium: Transcriptions of Bach Works

Exercitium: Transcriptions of Bach Works

by Laterna MagicaLaterna Magica


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In a time when players of almost any musical instrument from synthesizers to panpipes feel entitled to transcribe Bach's music for their own uses, it's a pleasure to encounter a Bach transcription disc that takes a different approach. Laterna Magica, a group of Baroque players and conservatory teachers from France and the Benelux, sets out to create transcriptions that Bach himself might have hit on as a matter of course. They transcribe several of Bach's organ trio sonatas for two recorders and a harpsichord-and-cello continuo. The trio sonata was, after all, a genre that generally featured pairs of solo instruments; Bach, with his unique totalizing mind, adapted it for his own purposes. Indeed, some of the music here either started out with the usual trio sonata texture or was later remade by Bach in that way. Furthermore, Baroque theorists posited a kinship between the organ and smaller wind instruments. For the most part it's a pleasure to hear the trio sonatas played in this way. Recorder players Nathalie Houtman and Laura Pok have a lively ensemble understanding and carry off the crucial passages, those featuring sweeping arpeggios, quite smoothly. In general, they stick close to Bach's scores, modifying them only occasionally for more idiomatic spacing and range. Each trio sonata is preceded by a prelude, played on the harpsichord and leading into the sonata without pause. The only missteps come at the end, where the program is rounded out by a few pieces outside the prevailing pattern: Bach's "Pedal Exercitum in G minor, BWV 598," a pedal-only piece, is played with little effect on the cello (it probably requires seeing an organist stamping around), and in the finale chorale, "Allein Gott in der Höh sei Her, BWV 676," the combination of recorders and organ sounds odd. In the main, though, this disc will provide an enjoyable and intriguing hour of listening for recorder lovers.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/25/2008
Label: Ramee
UPC: 4250128500036
catalogNumber: 3


  1. Prelude for keyboard in A minor (doubtful; perhaps by W. F. Bach), BWV 931
  2. Trio Sonata for organ No. 4 in E minor, BWV 528 (BC J4)
  3. Prelude and Fughetta, for keyboard in D minor (doubtful), BWV 899: Prelude in D minor
  4. Sonata for viola da gamba & keyboard No. 3 in G minor, BWV 1029
  5. Prelude for keyboard in C major (WFN 25), BWV 924 (BC L57)
  6. Trio Sonata for organ No. 2 in C minor, BWV 526 (BC J2)
  7. Prelude (Fantasia), for keyboard in C minor, BWV 921 (BC J44, 52)
  8. Sonata for viola da gamba & keyboard No. 2 in D major, BWV 1028
  9. Pedal-Exercitium, for organ (probably by C.P.E. Bach; incomplete), BWV 598
  10. Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (I), chorale prelude for organ (Achtzehn Choräle No. 11), BWV 662 (BC K85)

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