Christopher Houlihan

concert organist

Christopher Houlihan plays Bach

Azica Records ACD-71314 February 17, 2017

Azica Records ACD-71314 February 17, 2017

Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542
Italian Concerto, BWV 971 (arr. Houlihan)
Prelude and Fugue in B minor, BWV 544
Trio Sonata in G major, BWV 530
Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C major, BWV 564
Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582

Houlihan's first recording devoted entirely to the music of J.S. Bach. The recording features five of J.S. Bach's organ masterpieces, as well as Houlihan's own arrangement of the ever-popular Italian Concerto. Recorded on the eclectic Austin Organ at the Trinity College Chapel (Hartford, Conn.).

The organ works of J.S. Bach stand at the pinnacle of serious organ repertoire. Himself a virtuoso organist, Bach astounded audiences in his performances across Europe. While Bach's organ works are timeless, the organ as an instrument has changed a great deal since the 18th century. This led the distinguished concert organist Christopher Houlihan to pose a question: what impression might this music have when performed on instruments that are distinctly different from those of Bach's time? Houlihan answers that question in this, his first CD devoted entirely to Bach masterpieces.

Houlihan says, "The past sixty or so years have seen numerous, groundbreaking recordings of Bach's music on historic and historically informed instruments; this recording is a decidedly modern take on this repertoire. You'll hear crescendos and diminuendos as well as registration changes that are only possible on a modern organ. I do not believe this distorts Bach's genius, but rather highlights different aspects of it. It's a little like playing Bach on a piano: perhaps one doesn't play it like Liszt would have, but how much does one pretend the piano is a harpsichord?"

© 2017 Christopher Houlihan