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B-A-C-H: Anatomy Of A Motif

B-A-C-H: Anatomy Of A Motif

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In musical notation in Germany, the letter ‘h’ is used to represent the note b natural. So, the name ‘Bach’ forms an elegant phrase of two pairs of falling semitones. This proved an inspiration to Johann Sebastian, whose musical ‘signature’ appears again and again throughout his extensive output. Two shining examples are included on this album – the ‘unfinished fugue’ Contrapunctus XIV à 4 from Die Kunst der Fuge (as completed by Lionel Rogg) and the exquisite Ricercar à 6 from Musikalisches Opfer. Bach’s signature – as well as musical invention – has directly influenced scores of other composers down the years, as evidenced by the works included here, from Mendelssohn to Karg-Elert. The organist and, from 2008 until 2021, Assistant Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral, Simon Johnson has used his knowledge and insight to construct this program to demonstrate the extraordinary range and scope of the cathedral’s organ. Expertly recorded by the Chandos technical team, this album provides an outstanding testament to this fine instrument and to the unique acoustic of the world-renowned cathedral in which it sits.


As Simon Johnson admits, presenting two hours of music based on just four notes doesn’t sound a tantalizing prospect, but this double album is full of revelations… Altogether, this is a remarkable survey, brilliantly executed.

-- BBC Music Magazine

The listener is quickly drawn into a sonic and musical feast...An outstandingly good release and a perfect combination of repertory, player and organ.

-- Gramophone

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Product Description:

  • Release Date: February 04, 2022

  • UPC: 095115528525

  • Catalog Number: CHSA 5285(2)

  • Label: Chandos

  • Number of Discs: 2

  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

  • Performer: Simon Johnson


  1. The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080: Contrapunctus XIV a4 "Unfinished Fugue"

    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

    Performer: Simon Johnson (Organ)

  2. Sonata on the Choral "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden"

    Composer: Felix Mendelssohn

    Performer: Simon Johnson (Organ)

  3. Sechs Fugen über den Namen B.A.C.H, Op. 60

    Composer: Robert Schumann

    Performer: Simon Johnson (Organ)

  4. Fugue, WoO 8

    Composer: Johannes Brahms

    Performer: Simon Johnson (Organ)

  5. Ricercar à 6

    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

    Performer: Simon Johnson (Organ)

  6. Präludium und Fuge über den Namen B.A.C.H, S. 260

    Composer: Franz Liszt

    Performer: Simon Johnson (Organ)

  7. Fantasie und Fuge über B.A.C.H, Op.46

    Composer: Max Reger

    Performer: Simon Johnson (Organ)

  8. Passacaglia and Fugue on B.A.C.H, Op. 150

    Composer: Siegfried Karg-Elert

    Performer: Simon Johnson (Organ)