2007   SEPTEMBER 21   #264

The New York Percussion Ensemble - Bach For Percussion

1. Fugue in G Minor-The Great (4:13)
2. Toccata in F Major (5:57)
3. Fugue in C Major (3:43)

Discovering this album in a thrift-store was one of the most startling experiences of my record-hunting life. Hearing good ol' Johann Sebastian performed on the likes of snare drums, woodblocks and tom-toms had me completely bewildered. The New York Percussion Ensemble didn't cheat by using melodic percussion instruments like xylophones or marimbas - the list of instruments on the back include, apart from the ones I just mentioned, tambourines, cymbals, maracas, castanets, bongos, claves, triangle, cowbell, tympani, boobams, and sleigh bells.

The sound lies closer to traditional African music then to classical. To quote a Time magazine review: "The result has the effect of an X-ray photograph of a flower - barely recognizable, eerie and oddly fascinating." We make available three of the album's four cuts - the first track, a version of "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor," had a nasty gouge in it, but don't worry, it wasn't as good as the other three tracks.

This was no joke. Arranger John Klein's credits on the back cover are extensive - an early classical training, numerous classical and pop credits, and authorship of a "monumental two-volume work entitled 'The First Four Centuries of Music.'" I have no idea what this means, though: "Mr. Klein has composed music for no less then 137 dramas for the United States Treasury Department NBC Transcription Series..."

- Contributed by: Mr. Fab

Images: Front Cover, Back Cover

Media: LP
Album: Bach for Percussion
Label: Audio Fidelity
Date: 1956