This is acclaimed organist, composer, and recording artist Hans-Andre Stamm performing at the historic, world famous Trost mechanical (tracker) action organ of the Evangelical Lutheran City Church (Stadtkirche) of Waltershausen, Germany. This
is a period instrument that Bach himself knew and likely played which has been kept in original and fully playable condition. It's the largest mechanical action organ in Thuringia, the region of east-central Germany where Bach was born and lived his
Prior to its appearance nothing as powerful as this music had ever appeared before in the written repertoire [See blog, Bach d minor, Parts I-V]. This is a bold work written by a musician heavily influenced by the north German multi-sectional
"stylus phantasticus" form and whose independent mastery is evident. The likelihood that any other German organist at the time, save for the young J.S. Bach, could have conceived something of such unprecedented force, energy, and strength is remote.
It is thus believed to be a youthful work which, in its original form, was produced some time during Bach's Arnstadt years (1703-1707).
One is immediately struck by the excellent camera work and brisk tempos used in this recording, that 16' tone
was drawn on the main manual the entire time, and that the German chorus reeds of Bach's time were tame and not dominating. The 32' reed (Posaunen-Bass) was also kept drawn throughout save for the central fugal section up to the pedal solo. No
other registration changes were made from start to finish -- the sound was varied almost exclusively by changing manuals. One also notes the complete release of the hands before the closing pedal solo in the opening Toccata section, that all 5 types
of touch (legato, non-legato, marcato, staccato, and imperceivably broken) were employed, that the thumbs at times were used on the sharps, and that the left hand line in the exposition of the fugue was broken to keep the right hand line from being compromised
and less evident.
This is an enegetic, convincing, and revealing performance of this famous work which repays careful study. We offer our compliments and sincerest thanks to Mr. Stamm for making this instructive recording and posting it
on YouTube for public viewing.