Organ Transcriptions of Works by J. S. Bach transcribed by Peter Bækgaard
There is no doubt that J. S. Bach (1685-1750) is one of the greatest composers in the history of music. As far as organ music is concerned, he generally is recognized as the greatest of all, but also for many other instruments he has written a lot of wonderful works.
Some of these have later been transcribed for instruments other than those for which they were originally written. A few works have been transcribed for organ, too. For instance many of us have heard transcriptions of the famous Air in D Major from the 3rd Suite for Orchestra or of Jesus bleibet meine Freude from Cantata no. 147 Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben.
A lot of works, however, have never been transcribed. In many cases the reason is obvious: it simply isn't possible to make a good transcription. But in other cases there is no obvious reason. If you take a look at Bach's church cantatas, for example, you will find several movements which can be transcribed for other instruments, including the organ.
Bach himself has made several transcriptions for organ, not only of works by other composers (e.g. of some of Vivaldi's concertos), but also of some of his own music. I have just mentioned that there are several cantata movements which can be transcribed for organ, and it is interesting to see that Bach in fact has transcribed a few cantata movements himself (cf. the so-called Schübler Choräle BWV 645-650).
Now to the point! What I present on this homepage is a series of transcriptions of cantata movements by J. S. Bach. I don't pretend to have done anything special. A lot of organists can make these transcriptions themselves and do it just as well (perhaps better), but, as far as I know, most of the works have never been transcribed for organ before, and it's a pleasure for me to share this music with others who like to play this wonderful instrument.
As I have just said: as far as I know, most of the works have never been transcribed for organ before, but even if they have, I have done the work from scratch, so there are no copyright problems.
Originally it was my plan to publish about 15 transcriptions, but because of the positive reactions the project was extended, and for some years I have published an additional transcription every other month. Now I am not following a regular publishing scheme any more, but it is still my intention to publish some transcriptions, so take a look at my site now and then.
The transcriptions can be downloaded and used for free. If you have comments or suggestions, you are very welcome to contact me.
A little about myself: My name is Peter Baekgaard. I was born in 1952 and have for 24 years been a minister in the Danish Lutheran Church (Den danske Folkekirke). For health reasons I have now retired from my job as a minister and am living in Fredericia. I also am educated as an organist and have always been very interested in organ music.
In this section I will give you a little information about the transcriptions I have made.
In the descriptions there is an item called "Comments". If nothing has been mentioned here about corrections or I just have written "None", only a minor number of notes have been changed in the piece, for example in order to avoid disturbing empty harmonies or parallels.
I draw attention to the fact that the pieces are transcribed for organs with at least two manuals and pedal, but if your instrument has a 4' stop (or a 2' stop) in the pedal, some of the transcriptions can be played on it even if you don't have two manuals at your disposal.
A CD with some of my Bach transcriptions has been released. It has the title "J.S. Bach: Cantata movements transcribed for organ by Peter Baekgaard and played by Helge Gramstrup". Helge Gramstrup (b. 1937, organist at Sankt Markus Church, Århus, 1963-2007) has previously made CD recordings with works by Messiaen, Otto Malling, contemporary Danish music, and organ favourites.
The CD contains 19 pieces. The first of them, the Sinfonia from cantata no. 29, isn't really a transcription, but is just played from Bach's organo et basso continuo part, as it is. The rest of the pieces are 18 of my transcriptions: Ich, dein betrübtes Kind BWV 199, Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan BWV 75, Christ lag in Todesbanden (I) BWV 4, Trio in G Major BWV 36, Christ lag in Todesbanden (II) BWV 4, Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 143, Meinen Jesum lass ich nicht BWV 163, Erbarm dich mein in solcher Last BWV 113, Trio in G Major BWV 9, Valet will ich dir geben BWV 95, Der Gott, der mir hat versprochen BWV 13, Wer hofft in Gott und dem vertraut BWV 109, Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele BWV 180, Ertödt uns durch dein Güte BWV 22, Trio in B flat Major BWV 1, Ich will hier bei dir stehen BWV 159, Ich bitte dich, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 166, and Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren BWV 167.
ClassicO Records, Nørregade 53, 1165 Copenhagen, Denmark, has relased the CD. All sale of the ClassicO label CDs on the web is presently handled by here. The site is Danish, but there is also an English version of it (click the English flag). If you use the search expression Gramstrup, you can easily find the CD.. You can buy the CD
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