One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



cover image

CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Piano Transcriptions Vol. 8 - Eugen D'Albert

Passacaglia in C minor BWV582 [10:49] Fantasia and Fugue in C minor BWV537 [7:41] Prelude and Fugue in G major BWV541 [6:12] Toccata and Fugue in F major BWV540 [12:57] Prelude and Fugue in A major BWV536 [5:39] Prelude and Fugue in F minor BWV534 [8:50] Toccata and Fugue in D minor 'Dorian' BWV538 [12:12] Prelude and Fugue in D major BWV532 [9:43]
Piers Lane (piano)
rec. Henry Wood Hall, London 18-21 June 2009 HYPERION CDA67709 [74:06]

Experience Classicsonline

This is the eighth volume in Hyperion's Bach Piano Transcription series. Of the previous issues the one that has kept me most engrossed - though given the all-round excellence of both transcriptions and performances this is a close run thing - has been Hamish Milne’s take on the Russian tradition in CDA67506. The noble seriousness of the undertaking and the rewarding mediation that Milne brings are lasting pleasures. It doesn’t hinder matters that the recital ranges quite widely, and contains music of directly appealing lyric beauty. Volume 8 is not that kind of disc, because it focuses on Eugen d’Albert’s transcriptions of Preludes and Fugues and the Passacaglia in C minor, BWV582.

D’Albert, who lived to make recordings, was a formidable musician and an equally formidable man famous for his multiplicity of wives. He and Busoni were the leading transcribers of Bach’s piano music of the time. D’Albert certainly didn’t approve of his coeval’s efforts, and disliked Busoni’s transcription of the Chaconne, which was actually dedicated to him in 1893. He felt it was too thickly textured. What d’Albert disliked here and elsewhere were things such as Busoni’s chordal doubling, his big, thick textures, bass extensions and organ swell impersonations. For d’Albert this must have seemed like meretricious swank. His own transcriptions were, unlike his verbal pronouncements generally, modest, refined, and straightforward. He doesn’t seek to emulate Busoni’s pealing grandeur, and he would have had equally little time for a Busoni adherent from a later generation such as Gunnar Johansen who followed his master’s precepts into the mid twentieth century and well beyond.

Indeed Johansen’s own transcription of the Passacaglia in C minor, which has recently been released on an unnumbered promotional disc from the Johansen Foundation, bears all the hallmarks of a post-Busonian organ drama, utilizing a double keyboard Bösendorfer. The sonorities are gargantuan; Busoni and Stokowski squared. D’Albert by contrast is far, far more circumspect and faithful. Sonorities are built up, but the differences are extreme and reveal a vastly different methodology, an unbridgeable aesthetic gulf. The Preludes and Fugues demonstrate a similarly close focus on the essential core of the music. Piers Lane locates the extraordinary prefiguring of the Prelude of the C minor BWV537; its harmonic sense, its sense of character, its fantastico quality are duly revealed and honoured. The accents of the G major Fugue are crisply judged, the playing gradually increasingly grand, to notable effect. The pealing authority of the bass notes in the Toccata Prelude of the F major and Lane’s cultivation of an ochre sonority are both magisterial and within the bounds of d’Albert’s authorised expression And the briefly elliptical and unsettling start to the D major Prelude BWV532 is conveyed with unostentatious directness by Lane.

His playing throughout is communicative, adroit and imaginative and he has been afforded a fine acoustic.

Jonathan Woolf

Communicative, adroit and imaginative playing


Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.