Bach recommendations?

OK so my favorite cd, Bach on the organ, is scratched. Now I need more Bach; anyone a fan?

Assuming you're talking about THE Bach, J.S., (had some sons who did some great music, too)....

There's SO much Bach.... I'd have to revisit a lot of old things to know where to begin on organ recordings (or the cantatas, if you're into that).

I am a crazy fan of the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (especially recommend the second, DG recording by Nathan Milstein). The Suites for solo Cello too -- such a gorgeous instrument, and deep sound, which I sometimes prefer to listen to, though I think the violin music is superior.

The Brandenburg Concertos are necessary listening.

How many recommendations do you want? There's a hell of a lot of Bach.

LOL I kinda figured I'd be opening Pandora's box...

I will definitely get those you've mentioned. Feel free to add more.

Thanx }:-)

Well.... ok.... the Mass in b-minor and the St. Matthew Passion are often considered the pinnacle of Bach's liturgical music. (So yes, again, the vocal/religious thing.... there's a LOT of that in Bach, too, as opposed to some of the secular music I recommended above).

Part of the problem with keyboard music, in particular, is that it's not clear which keyboard it was written for; controversy about whether that even matters. A lot of people play Bach on the piano, which didn't exist when he composed the stuff. So.... I don't know whether to recommend "harpsichord music" or piano music or what -- if you care about the whole "original instruments" debate, "original performance practices" etc. Glenn Gould's first and last recordings were of the Goldberg Variations. It's kind of severe music. I recommend the first (I wanna say 1957, but I'm not sure at all if I'm imagining that). Kind of a basic library sort of thing, whether you listen to it or not! It was 'weird' when it was released, but so influential that it now sounds normal. (Like... no sustain pedaling, which was odd for piano 50 years ago....)

Bach also wrote music for lute, and while there is lute music to recommend, I prefer the classical guitar. Again, guitar as we know it didn't exist in Bach's time; it's an easier transition, though, than from clavichord or harpsichord to piano. And yet... and yet... I have to mention transcriptions, because the most purely jaw-dropping Bach on guitar is a recording by Philip Hii called "Johann Sebastian Bach -- New Transcriptions for guitar". This stuff is transcribed from all sorts of sources -- including some of the densest organ music -- and Hii pulls it off on solo guitar. It's astounding. (There are other recordings I might prefer purely in terms of tone.... John Williams' recording of the lute suites, Benjamin Verdery has a really gorgeous sound and does some of the violin music. I don't know if the latter is available. Hii is. Williams is available on EMI's budget series).

Glenn Gould's Goldberg variations are probably the single most famous Bach recording.

Get his choral music, especially the st.matthew passion and the mass in b minor.

I guess ali already said all that. The st.john passion and the magnificat also also good.

... while I'm thinking about it... I am not a proponent of "original instruments" or "original performance practices" necessarily. Nothing against all that either, but there are huge debates.

That said... one recording that is of that school that is just incredible is "Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord" by Carmignola and Marcon. So we have listed some large forces music (The Masses et al) solo music (violin, cello, piano), medium-sized chamber orchestra (Brandenburgs), and now some duo music.

Marcon also plays organ and has a lot fans -- I don't know those recordings at all. I'm mentioning it because your favorite organ CD was scratched.... (I find organ recordings tricky, because the actual, specific instrument makes such a huge difference; some of my favorite organists have made recordings on crappy little instruments or instruments just recorded badly.... like I'm crazy for Anthony Newman. When he recorded for a major label he made great recordings; the indie-label stuff all sounds like crap. Some of Daniel Chorzempas stuff is good, some sound bad. But these guys take an "aggressive" approach to a lot of the music, which is not to all tastes).

I'll throw in another note about the Brandenburgs -- a lot of people who think they don't like classical music (ok, baroque, but generally 'classical' section of the record store) are converted by the Brandenburgs. Again different ideas about which recordings ... but the music is often 'catchy' and basically you have to be on the pipe not to get into it.

Orchestral Suites 2 &3 are of the highest quality and packaged together. You will not go wrong buying these masterpeices. There is a universal disc with Suites 2/3 and Concerto for Two Violins by Sir Neville Marriner.


The Brandenburgs, Mass in B minor, Goldberg Variations and St Matthew Passion are essential for any aspiring classical music or Bach fan.