Liszt Organ Transcriptions


I have been playing the Bach Fantasia and Fugue in G-minor (BWV 542) and the Prelude and Fugue in A-minor (BWV 543) since I was a young student. However it took Franz Liszt to give me some new insights.

Both works are among Bach’s greatest organ compositions. However, after hearing a recent performance, I decided to take a look at the piano transcriptions by Franz Liszt.  

This has forced me, after all of these years, to take a fresh look at both works. As a result, I feel like I am learning them for the first time. 

I was considering the transcriptions by Tivadar Szanto (1877 – 1934). However, in my opinion, Szanto takes too many liberties with Bach’s score (although, high-praise to Marc-Andre Hamelin for his performances of them). 

The long pedal points in both works require a great deal of pedal which blends the bravura in the hands. This, in my opinion, adds to the Fantasia effect. In both cases the fugues gain a great deal with the nuances that can be brought out on the piano. 

If you get a chance to hear or study the scores I strongly recommend the chance to do it. I am attaching the hyperlinks to free downloads of the scores to both.

Bach Fantasia and Fugue in G-minor (BWV 542)

Bach Prelude and Fugue in A-minor (BWV 543)

Next up, I am going to attempt his piano transcriptions of his own organ works: The Prelude and Fugue on B-A-C-H and the Fantasia and Fugue on chorale Ad now ad salutaren undam. 

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