Le programme Bach de ce cd est original à plus d'un titre, à commencer par le fait que deux oeuvres seulement, le Prélude et Fugue BWV 552 et la Passacaille et Fugue BWV 582 sont entièrement originales. Tout le reste rassemble des transcriptions, non sans un certain humour puisque l'une d'elle est de Bach lui-même, le concerto BWV 596 d'après Vivaldi. Les autres sont de Marcel Dupré pour la sinfonia de la Cantate n° 29, d'Ulisse Matthey pour la chaconne de la Partita BWV 1004, de Max Reger pour la Fantaisie chromatique et Fugue BWV 903; et, pour faire bonne mesure, la transcription par Louis Vierne de la sicilienne de la Sonate BWV 1031 qui n'est probablement pas de Johann Sebastian mais de son fils Carl Philipp Emmanuel. Par sa science des registrations et sa virtuosité, Andrea Falcioni fait merveille dans toutes les transcriptions postérieures à Bach (celle de Reger constitue le sommet de cet enregistrement); pour les oeuvres originales et le concerto, la magnificence glacée de l'orgue Johannes Klais (1962) de l'abbaye d'Himmerod pâlit en comparaison du grain et de la saveur des Silbermann, Schnitger et autres instruments d'époque. (Michel Lorentz-Alibert)
In 1731, Johann Sebastian Bach was commissioned to write a cantata to mark the inauguration of the new town council in Leipzig. The resulting piece, Wir danken dir, Gott begins with a Sinfonia, based on a transcription for organ and orchestra of the prelude from Bach’s own Partita No.3 in E major for solo violin BWV 1006. Marcel Dupré’s highly virtuosic organ arrangement of the work removes the orchestra and adds a pedal line, giving all the various parts to the solo organ. Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue BWV 903 was originally written for harpsichord. Bach may have written this piece, like the Well-Tempered Clavier, as proof of the power of equal temperament to explore the various keys and get the most out of the instrument’s tonal resources. Max Reger’s transcription uses changes of manual and stops and the technique of dividing the parts between the manuals and pedals to emphasise all the work’s unique aspects. Bach was a huge admirer of Antonio Vivaldi and transcribed several of his concertos for solo keyboard. The Concerto in D minor here is taken from Vivaldi’s L’estro harmonico, a collection of solo concertos that brought the composer much acclaim. Bach’s arrangement follows the original division into four movements and, interestingly, this work was one of the few times Bach noted the stops the organist should use. The Chaconne from Bach’s Partita No.2 in D minor BWV 1004 is another solo violin transcription, arranged for organ by Ulisse Matthey. A chaconne is a composition derived from a moderate-paced dance in ternary time, probably of Spanish or South American origin, comprising a series of variations over a basso ostinato. Matthey’s transcription for organ gives the listener an even greater appreciation of the complex polyphony and sophisticated counterpoint that pervade the piece’s 32 eight-bar variations. The Flute Sonata BWV 1031, attributed to J.S. Bach but potentially composed by his son Carl Philipp Emmanuel, is divided into three movements, the most famous of which is undoubtedly the Sicilienne, here in the version transcribed for solo organ by Louis Vierne. In musical terms a sicilienne or siciliana is a slow-paced dance, typically in the minor mode and usually in 6/8 or 12/8, characterised by dotted rhythms that are meant to recall a pastoral atmosphere. The Prelude and Fugue BWV 552 is considered one of the greatest achievements in the history of music. It is full of hidden symbolism, all celebrating the mystery of the Trinity: the three flats in the key signature, three themes in the Prelude and three subjects in the Fugue, are references to the numbers 9 (3×3) and 27 (3×3×3). The themes stylistically depict a part of the Trinity: the Father is solemn and majestic, the Son is livelier, and the Holy Spirit has a joyful feel. Like the chaconne, the Passacaglia is a moderate-paced dance in ternary time of Spanish origin. Here, once again, Bach’s writing conceals several numerical symbols: ternary time, three flats in the key signature, and seven groups of three variations, making a total of 21 variations (2+1=3).