Aya Yoshida, Fantasy 1720, Bach
The Japanese-German organist Aya Yoshida presents the world premiere recordings of two organ arrangements of Bach's virtuosic violin solo compositions, including the mighty Chaconne in D Minor, along with completions of the two most important Bach organ composition fragments, all by Thomas Meyer-Fiebig. With these arrangements, which were written specifically for her, Ms. Yoshida completes a remarkable musical journey through a unique and carefully curated corner of Bach's visionary music. Fantasy 1720 is a new release from Zoho Music, available from Allegro Classical.
Professor of Composition at the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo, Thomas Meyer-Fiebig has researched Bach's organ music for decades, trying to find performing solutions to incomplete organ composition fragments and to "translate" important Bach solo instrument compositions into the sound world of Bach's organ music style. Of particular fascination to Meyer-Fiebig are Bach's organ music fragments which raise the question of whether their complete manuscript pages have been lost, or were abandoned by the composer at an early stage.
In the case of Bach's Fantasy and Fugue in C minor (BWV 562), the Fantasy may have been completed by Bach as early as 1708 while it is unclear what may have persuaded Bach to start working on an accompanying Fugue about 35 years later. Of this Fugue, only the first 27 bars have survived. "My biggest challenge in completing this fugue fragment was therefore to create a second fugue subject which could have been written by Bach," comments Meyer-Fiebig, "I searched for such a second fugue theme for 16 years, from 1981 through 1997."
The idea of transcribing the violin solo sonatas for other instruments goes back to the composer himself. Meyer-Fiebig transcribes the Sonata No 2 in A Minor (BWV 1003) for solo violin as a "Concerto for Organ." The majestic Chaconne from Partita in D minor for solo violin (BWV 1003) has already seen famous adaptations, including the piano version by Brahms, for left hand only, and the spectacular large orchestra version by Stokowski. In Meyer-Fiebig's version for organ, the huge sonorities of the four-part writing which are implied in Bach's violin version are distributed over the sound spectrum of several octaves and many organ pipe registrations. Employing the sonic weight of the immense, rarely used sub-bass 32-foot register of the famous Jehmlich organ at the Kreuzkirche in Dresen, Aya Yoshida brings the work to a moving and rousing end.
Born in Nagoya, Japan, where she is a lecturer at Nagoya Women's University, Aya Yoshida moved to Germany at the age of 15 for training as a concert and church organist. She held the post of Music Director of St. Paul's Church in Cologne for 13 years prior to moving back to Japan in 2006. Ms. Yoshida tours regularly in Germany, Japan and elsewhere, and has released three recordings for German independent labels. Throughout her career, Yoshida has championed organ compositions by living composers.