eliasb on 01/12/2012 at 03:24PM
The FMA is proud to present Dr. James Kibbie’s ambitious project, the performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s complete works for organ.
Since Bach needs no introduction, I’ll focus on what else makes this a special treat for the FMA. For one, Dr. Kibbie recorded in Germany on the region’s finest original baroque organs. These instruments, each occupying multiple stories in a church, are to an electric organ as this gong is to a Zildjian cymbal. Dr. Kibbie selected them to meet the stylistic requirements of Bach’s opus, and you can learn more about each organ at the Block M Records website.
The scope of this project is huge. There are 270 separate compositions, some in multiple movements. This amounts to over 16 hours of music. The recordings are organized by style of composition or groups that Bach put them in.
The piece I have attached is the Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, one of Bach’s most famous works. It opens with an ominous bass line, the final note of which comes out as a kind of primordial roar on the 1724-30 Trost organ in Waltershausen, Germany. This line gets repeated throughout the first part of the piece, the Passacaglia, while above it, Dr. Kibbie goes to work on Bach’s variations. The second part, a fugue, is equally impressive. You might recognize this composition from a number of places, including the Godfather baptism sequence (it starts around 1:35). These extraordinary 13 minutes are a great introduction to the rest of this project.
These recordings are sponsored by the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, with generous support from Dr. Barbara Furin Sloat in honor of J. Barry Sloat, and with additional support from the Office of Vice-President for Research, the University of Michigan. We thank the University, Block M, and James Kibbie for sharing this incredible project under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.