Friday, March 3, 2017

Bach for Percussion


I found this odd little gem in the dollar bin of an Atlanta record store several years ago. The 1956 album features four of Bach's organ works transcribed for - no kidding - unpitched percussion instruments. Arranger John Klein's idea was that the structural aspects of Bach's music would hold up even without pitch and melody. A contemporary review said, "The result has the effect of an X-ray photograph of a flower — barely recognizable, eerie and oddly fascinating." It is oddly fascinating, although I don't know how much it's actually Bach. The playing, by the New York Percussion Ensemble (members of the New York Philharmonic) is impeccable, not surprisingly. Whatever this album is, I'm glad to have it.

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