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BACH // The concertante organ

André Isoir,

Sinfonias, sonatas & concertos 15 works arranged in alternation in 3 new programmes

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Here, interpreted by André Isoir, are Johann Sebastian Bach’s works for concertante organ, arranged in three programmes, specially compiled from his historic Calliope recordings, which intersperse the cantata sinfonias with obbligato organ, the concertos transcribed after Vivaldi, and the trio sonatas.

La Dolce Volta offers an original approach to this repertory, cultivating through three coherently arranged concerts an entirely new way of listening to pieces that are extremely diverse yet at the same time display close affinities, both in their reference to the model of the Italian concerto and in their virtually universal recourse to the principles of transcription and arrangement. Here are fifteen of Bach’s most important organ works, deriving from the different worlds of the solo keyboard, the orchestra, and the sacred cantata, underlining the unity of a creative philosophy that rises above above any specific medium.

André Isoir presents to us here one of the liveliest facets of Bach’s art of rhetoric, the testimony of an imagination soaring free of all constraints.



Concerto in D minor BWV 1052a

  • Allegro (1st sinfonia of the cantata BWV146) 7’17
  • Adagio (reference to the 1st choir of cantata BWV146) 5’55
  • Allegro (1st sinfonia of the cantata BWV188) 7’49


Trio Sonata n°3 in D minor BWV 527

  • Andante 5’24
  • Adagio e dolce 6’39
  • Vivace 3’55


Concerto in C Major according to Vivaldi (op. 7 n° 5) BWV 594

  • Tempo giusto 6’18
  • Recitativ 3’32
  • Allegro 7’53

Trio Sonata n° 2 in C minor BWV 526

  • Vivace 3’47
  • Largo 4’08
  • Allegro 4’19
  • Sinfonia in D major (cantate BWV 29) 3’34


Concerto in D minor BWV 1052a


  • Allegro (1st sinfonia of cantata BWV35) 6’03
  • Aria (1st viola air of cantata BWV35) 8’04
  • Presto (2nd sinfonia of cantata BWV35) 3’42


Trio Sonata n° 4 in E minor BWV 528 BWV 528

  • Adagio 2’48
  • Andante 5’28
  • Un poco allegro 2’42


Concerto in G Major according to J.E. de Saxe Weimar BWV592

  • Tempo giusto 2’53
  • Grave 2’12
  • Presto 1’55


Trio Sonata n° 5 in C Major BWV 529

  • Allegro 5’13
  • Largo 5’32
  • Allegro 4’12


Concerto in A minor according to Vivaldi (op. 3 n° 6) BWV 593

  • Tempo giusto 3’51
  • Adagio 3’30
  • Allegro 3’26

Concerto in D minor according to Vivaldi (op. 3 n° 11) BWV 596

  • Tempo giusto 1’35
  • Grave, Fuga 3’12
  • Largo 2’43
  • Finale 2’49


Trio Sonata n° 6 in G Major BWV 530

  • Vivace 3’55
  • Lento 8’23
  • Allegro 4’01


Concerto in D Major BWV 1053a


  • Allegro (Sinfonia of the cantata BWV169) 7’42
  • Siciliano (2nd viola air of cantata BWV169) 5’31
  • Allegro (Sinfonia of cantata BWV49) 6’38


Concerto in C Major according to J.E. de Saxe-Weimar BWV 595

  • Allegro 3’41


Trio Sonata n° 1 in E-flat Major BWV 525

  • Allegro moderato 3’24
  • Adagio 9’29
  • Allegro 3’36



“André Isoir combines technical perfection and profound reflection to give each work the right movement and colour, and hence just the right mood of spirituality.”

« A SET OF GEMS » -Ionarts

André Isoir’s Bach organ cycle has been very much out of print on the Calliope label.
Only his Art of the Fugue was reasonably available for a bit longer. For a good reason, too, as it’s an outstanding achievement and the crowning highlight of his Bach survey. There’s another real set of gems in that set, too, and that’s the collection of the organ concertos of Bach’s, which are easily overlooked next to the more famous original solo pieces—presumably because they are ‘only’ parody works, which is to say arrangements of either violin concertos by Vivaldi (BWV 593, 594, 596), himself (BWV 592a), adaptations from yet other sources (BWV 592, 595, 597), reconstructions (BWV 1059a) or even arrangements by another (CP.E. Bach) of J.S.B. (BWV 1052a). But since Bach makes originals out of anything he touches, by way of superadding to its essence (a point every ionarts-reader has been harangued with, with mantra-like repetition), these works are marvels, too. Isoir, playing on two Lëtzebuergesch Georg Westenfelder (1977, 1990) and a German Gerhard Grenzing organs (1982), is particularly effective in them and throws a splendid set of Trio Sonatas into the mix.

André Isoir, born at Saint-Dizier, studied music at the École César Franck, where his teachers included Édouard Souberbielle for the organ and Germaine Mounier for the piano. He then entered Rolande Falcinelli’s class at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris, where in 1960 he was awarded the premier prix for organ and improvisation by unanimous decision of the jury.

He subsequently won a number of international competitions, first St Albans in the UK, where he obtained first prize in 1965, then Haarlem (Holland) where he won three years in a row (1966-67- 68), thus obtaining the ‘Challenge Prize’. He is still today the only Frenchman to have achieved this distinction since the competition was founded in 1951. He has made some sixty recordings, which gained him eight grands prix du Disque between 1972 and 1991, as well as the Prix du Président de la République for his anthology of French organ music ‘Le Livre d’Or de l’Orgue Français’.

André Isoir’s musical culture is complemented by an in-depth knowledge of instrument building; in his opinion this contributes to a more stylish approach to the various repertoires, in terms of both technique and registration.

He is organist emeritus of the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, Chevalier des Arts et Lettres and Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite.

“When you go into a church and see those great metal pipes gleaming in the shadows, and then imagine one man making all of that work, you really want to be that man yourself. You have to admit that the organ is an instrument you get attached to.” André Isoir

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