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E. Power Biggs – Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor

Written by admin on August 4th, 2010

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV 565) performed by the concert organist E. Power Biggs playing the 1958 Flentrop tracker in the Busch-Reisinger Museum at Harvard University


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25 Comments so far ↓

  1. ohioclock says:

    Had the pleasure and thrill of seeing and hearing Power Biggs more years ago than I care to calculate. Have this on a 33 1/3 disc somewhere, but thanks for presenting it here!

  2. jrssjdca says:

    @srlucado It just depends on which video you watch who is best. On Karl Richter videos of this piece, he’s the consensus best organist ever for Bach. On Biggs videos, EPB is the best. I think anyone who plays this and gives a good performance can be considered great.

  3. dave0mary says:

    Lame. Very lame version. This is 2010. Pick it up a bit mate.

  4. greenspacesforever says:

    Always my favorite performance. He has an animated, but restrained technique. I also can’t imagine performing the stuff he did with rheumatoid arthritis.

  5. sigbangschmidt says:

    Power Biggs what a name what great music!
    This was a still is power

  6. spepper says:

    Is this from Sony Essential Classics “Bach: Toccata & Fugue; Passacaglia & Fugue; Pastorale; Prelude & Fugue”? I have the Four Great Toccatas & Fugues in CD, but i don’t know if it’s the Cathedral of Freiburg or the cd itself, but the sound comes up and down, vibrant and clear one minute, and then distant… On the contrary (even with youtube audio), this version is absolute greatness, clear, powerful and a more balanced volume.

  7. Renshen1957 says:

    @spepper I used to have the Freiburg recordings on a LP which was the 4 Organs of the Muenster playable through a separate 5th console. I miss the Dorian Toccata. This I believe is from an earlier recording as mentioned in the notes at Harvard. Biggs did a number of different recordings of the piece, one on the Art Schnitger St Jakobi in Hamburg. This is one of my favorite version.

  8. fiddlestyxify says:

    E. Power Biggs! What an awesome name.

  9. boriset says:

    By far and I said BY FAR! Power Biggs plays the BEST interpretation of this incredible work of Bach. And not only the tecnic of the execution, he had the secret of a mistic great registration in each manual and no other organist understood the Kapelmeister as he did. I’ve heard all the others. Miles away from this. Simply PERFECT.

  10. bcschmerker says:

    E. Power Biggs worked very closely with D. A. Flentrop on the tonal design of this organ, still extant and fully operational at Adolphus Busch Hall, Harvard University, MA, USA, as one of the first new organs of the 20th Century optimized for the Baroque repertoire. Here, BWV 565 sounds much as it would on the better organs of Bach’s day.

  11. JoAnne90068 says:

    This is awesome but if you like it you should hear Mr. Biggs play it on the harpsichord. D Minor was actually written for the harpsichord originally. It’s great either way and on a cathedral organ it rocks but on a two manual, petal harpsichord? Nothing better.

  12. randyclar747 says:

    too fast. The author of this video is murdering the music by making it too fast and robotic.

  13. BigOrganPipes says:

    @randyclar747 This is exactly as it is off the CD. Unless you mean Biggs is playing too fast and that’s subjective. 8 minutes 25 seconds is about average for this piece. I’ve seen it played as fast as 7 minutes 40 seconds (by Nicholas Danby) and as slow as 11 minutes 34 seconds (by Daniel Chorzempa) and everywhere in-between. If you feed the notes into a computer it comes out to exactly the way Biggs is playing it. Look for the youtube video ipzR9bhei_o

  14. BigOrganPipes says:

    @randyclar747 Check my other videos. There’s a version of this where Biggs plays it for 9 minutes 35 seconds and 14 other versions of Biggs playing the Toccata only at all different speeds & registration.

    Only Bach knew how fast to play it and unfortunately he’s not here to show us.

  15. randyclar747 says:

    @BigOrganPipes Watch Fantasia by Walt Disney, this tune is on there, and I beleive you can savor every note rather than being rushed through it. This is rapid. especially in fugue parts.

  16. BigOrganPipes says:

    @randyclar747 I know that’s the movie that made this piece famous yet I have never heard it. I will try to find it. Thanks.

  17. BigOrganPipes says:

    According to the mp3 at Amazon (from the Fantasia soundtrack), it’s 9 minutes 25 seconds.

  18. randyclar747 says:

    @BigOrganPipes You are speaking of total time played. I have grown up in the fine arts, and have heard and played this piece at correct speeds. The correct speed is unique to the individual artist playing the piece. Sure the total time may stand at close to eight and a half minutes, but certain segments can be hurried, which is not factored. Try “fantasia” and get back to me please.

  19. Golmon251 says:

    Biggs is the best for this.

  20. Enkaged says:

    this song helped me write my final. i love the evil sound in it!!

  21. RailroadBill76 says:

    As I recall, Power Biggs recorded this verson of the D-minor around 40 years ago, and ever since then every organist I know has whined about how they could do it better…faster, slower, lighter, heavier, etc. Personally I think this recording is the BENCHMARK. Thanks for putting it up here.

  22. sailing19100 says:

    @BigOrganPipes Not only that, but Bach was not a metronome, and no matter what tempo, the organist has opportunity to bring all of his skills to present an honorable interpretation, as he did in this recording. Frankly, I think that on youtube, those who wish to criticize should first post their own treatment of the piece. That would cut out much of the bull.

  23. owlforeva says:

    original keyboard wizard :-)

  24. BAxitorCH says:

    Mhmm..good execution..but I don’t like the sound of this organ, I think it’s not powerful..and the end is a bit too fast. I believe Karl Richter had a better interpretation in this piece and played a better organ than Biggs..anyway Bach is ever awesome..:)

  25. BigOrganPipes says:

    check out my other vids. Biggs plays this piece 14 different ways on 14 different organs and i have them all uploaded in my vids. this particular version Biggs happens to be playing it right off the sheet music by the book flawlessly with no improvisational distortions

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