Sunday night usual

Well it’s Sunday night and after a long day of blog sorting and writing and email catcher-upping and listening to some interviews for self-critique, I’m doing what I usually do, and that’s listening to music. This is my favorite of all the JS Bach toccatas for organ, played by one of my childhood heroes, E. Power Biggs, who plays it at a pretty blistering clip compared to most organists. By the way, this is played on the Schnitger organ at Zwolle in the Netherlands, and though it’s in the key of d minor, it will sound like it’s in the ,key of e minor, because it has its “a” tuned to 492 (what a concept). All the manual changes you hear are actually in the surviving scores, and they’re the only manual changes to be noted in any of his scores. Probably because some student or son of his watched him play it and what and how he did it. THe picture of the organ with a fellow’s hands is actually Biggs himself (you call see the effect playing mechanical action instruments all the time had on his hands, because they’re very large and muscular). That console is actually that of the Schnitger in Zwolle, which you hear on the recording. I had this very recording when I was a kid, along with a record set of Biggs giving talks. I can still hear him saying “Bach’s royal instrument…:” and then the toccata starts… its the other Bach D minor organ toccata, and my fave. I wore this record out playing it over and over (you can listen to the fugue too, though it’s not one of my faves):


That’s very nice… it has a relaxed measured pace and a rich, full sound in that beautiful church. Lovely!

1 Like