Highpoints of virtuosity in Bach’s output and the Baroque organ repertoire, in new recordings by an organist with a rich catalogue of success on Brilliant Classics to his credit.
As well as a host of obscure composers, Manuel Tomadin has recorded many central figures in the organ repertoire, from Buxtehude to Rheinberger. His Bach discography includes the Leipziger Choräle, BWV 651-667 (94556) and an original ‘Harmonic Seasons’ album (95786) pairing preludes and fugues with chorales that tell a story of rebirth and quiescence through the four seasons.
For his latest album, he turns to undisputed highlights of the repertoire: the collection of six sonatas in three parts which Bach compiled in the late 1720s. By then he had settled into his post as Capellmeister in Leipzig, and with this set of works was evidently aiming to leave his contribution to the already rich literature of trio sonatas which had originated some decades earlier in Italy and subsequently spread across Europe, as a means of crossing sacred and secular divides with music conceived for performance by either a single keyboard player or a chamber group of musicians.
Being Bach, however, he determined to produce not merely another volume in the library. While he drew the material for the trio sonatas from earlier pieces, he refined and adapted them with all the ingenuity and harmonic invention at his disposal, making the finished set among the most demanding pieces ever written for the organ, then or now.
The trio sonatas are accordingly often performed by a trio of chamber musicians, but there is a special freshness and virtuosity to be savoured when they are played, as here and as originally intended, by a single organist. As Manuel Tomadin notes in his valuable booklet introduction, the six sonatas run the gamut of expressive feeling, from a gravity of pathos in the central Largo of the C minor Sonata No.2 to the irrepressible joy of the finale to the C major No.5. He has made these new recordings on an instrument with an excellent Bachian pedigree: the Bosch/Schnitger organ (1686/1720) of the Hervormde church in the Dutch town of Vollenhove, and the booklet includes a full specification for the instrument.
- The organ sonatas, BWV 525–530 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) are a collection of six sonatas in trio sonata form. Each of the sonatas has three movements, with three independent parts in the two manuals and obbligato pedal. The collection was put together in Leipzig between 1727 and 1732 and contained reworkings of prior compositions by Bach from earlier cantatas, organ works and chamber music, as well as some newly composed movements. The sixth sonata, BWV 530, is the only one for which all three movements were specially composed for the collection. They were written for his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann, to help him perfect his technique. The Trio Sonatas are generally considered to be among Bach’s best and most difficult masterpieces for organ.
- Played on one of the best and best-preserved historical organs of The Netherlands: the Bosch/Schnitger organ (1686/1720) of the Hervormde Gemeente Vollenhove, The Netherlands, perfectly fitting the requirements and style of Bach’s mature organ works. The specifications of this wonderful instrument are included in the booklet.
- Manuel Tomadin is one of the foremost Italian organists of today, a scholar and passionate musician, with an impressive discography to his name: Husumer Organ Book, Alberti Complete Keyboard Works, Van Noordt, Krebs, Lübeck, Hassler, Martini, Erbach and other North German organ masters.