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Erich Piasetzki (Organ)

Bach Organ Works from Berlin Classics, Volume 9

1

Das Orgelwerk auf Silbermann-Orgeln Vol. 9 (Die Orgel der Dorfkirche zu Nassau)

Trio Sonata No. 6 in G major BWV 530
Fantasia in C major BWV 575 (Fragment)
Toccata in E major BWV 566
Prelude in A minor BWV 569
Trio in G minor BWV 584
Partite diverse sopra BWV 770
Prelude & Fugue in A minor BWV 551

Erich Piasetzki (Organ) [Silbermann Organ of the Village Church of Nassau (1748)]

Berlin Classics

1968

CD / TT: 56:06

Donald Satz wrote (August 27, 2001):
Don's Conclusion: An essential acquisition

This recording is volume 9 of Berlin Classic's Bach organ series on various Silbermann organs and one of the best volumes in the cycle. Erich Piasetzki uses relatively light textures in a beguiling manner, his rhythmic flow is usually mesmorizing, and his choices in registration are excellent, uplifting, and highly imaginative. The only drawbacks of the disc are a perverse Trio BWV 584 and a less than outstanding Toccata BWV 566. At the other end, Piasetzki's Prelude BWV 569, Partita BWV 770, and the middle movement from the Trio Sonata BWV 530 are magical readings towering above the alternatives. These three peformances are not to be missed and result in the essential listening recommendation for the disc as a whole.

The notes I took while listening to Piasetzki go as follows:

Fantasia in C major BWV 573 - This is a very short 12-bar fragment from Bach's tenure at Cothen. The music is ceremonial and heroic, and Werner Jacob on EMI plays it like a masterpiece. He makes me want more of the Fantasia - much more. The basic difference between Jacob and Piasetzki's peformance is the slower tempo of Piasetzki; the emotional themes and their depth are roughly equal. I do prefer the more moderate pace that Jacob employs, but both versions are very enjoyable.

Trio in G minor BWV 584 - This short piece is an arrangement from an aria to Cantata BWV 166. The music conveys longing and is rather grave in nature with a few sweet passages. Jacob is quick and surface-bound, but Kevin Bowyer on Nimbus shows the way; he's much slower and very poignant and grave. Piasetzki's performance doesn't possess significant merit. His registrations can be unmusical, some notes sound off-key, and the best I can report is that a listener could consider this version of the sci-fi variety.

Prelude & Fugue in A minor BWV 551 - I recently reviewed Kevin Bowyer's performance of this Arnstadt work in his Volume 13 and found Rubsam and Piasetzki preferable. Both provide more highly nuanced and varied accounts. Piasetzki is the faster of the two, but each version is exceptional.

Prelude in A minor BWV 569 - Based on a four-note motif which is subjected to many short variations, this piece can be rather monotonous such as in Christopher Herrick's version on Hyperion. But Piasetzki is anything but monotonous. At a very slow tempo, he pulls me into his hypnotic world of urgency. This is a superb reading of maximum variety with excellent choices of registration.

Toccata in E major BWV 566 - A wonderful musical creation having two fugues; the first abounds with the satisfaction and comfort of life, while the second is in triple time and highly celebratory. Lionel Rogg and Christopher Herrick deliver outstanding performances; Rogg's opening Toccata and initial fugue are so animated and vital, while Herrick's second fugue is a celebratory tour de force. Another excellent version comes from Olivier Vernet on Ligia who is just a tad heavy to match either Rogg or Herrick. How does Piasetzki fare in this company? Although providing a fine performance, his level of vitality just can't quite compare to the best versions. As a result, the performance is a little short on lift and animation.

Partita BWV 770 - Of Bach's four chorale partitas, BWV 770 is the one which is considered of less inspiration and complexity; this has added to the premise that the work may well not be from Bach's pen. However, the perceived level of the music's excellence depends on the performing artist. Simon Preston on DG plays the Partita like he doesn't think very much of it. At a very quick clip, he uses minimal changes in registration to convey a rather dull picture. Gerhard Weinberger on CPO is much slower and puts much more of himself into the music; his registrations are delightfully expansive, and he almost has me believing that Bach did compose the work.

My preconception about Piasetzki was that he has the knack to make 'gold' out of something of less value, and that his imaginative sense of registrations would win the day for BWV 770. These perceptions of mine often are wayward, but they hit the target squarely in this case. Piasetzki even surpasses Weinberger based on an irresistable rhythmic flow.

Trio Sonata No. 6 in G major BWV 530 - I recently reviewed the Joan Lippincott and Kay Johannsen sets of the Trio Sonatas and found Lionel Rogg and Erich Piasetzki to deliver outstanding versions. Listening now to Piasetzki's performance does not change my opinions; his second movement is the most interesting, deep, and best version I know.

The sound quality of this exceptional recording is superb for the time period. All is very clear and vivid, although some mechanical noise enters the soundstage occasionally. A little increase in bass and decrease in treble from the 'flat' position provides me with the best presentation of the music.

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Last update: ýJanuary 17, 2003 ý15:11:15