Spira, Spera (Bach: Transcriptions)


This item will be released March 26, 2021.

Emmanuel Despax returns to Signum with a disc of JS Bach transcriptions. The title quotes Victor Hugo’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’ (“Breathe, Hope”), brought to Despax’s mind following the news of the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral, where he had attended many concerts of Bach’s music as a child. Despax describes Bach’s music as being “of such clarity, coherence and expressive power, that it is able to transcend its original medium, and to some extent, style.”

This virtuosic programme combines both well-known transcriptions, such as the mighty Bach-Busoni ‘Chaconne’ and Saint-Saën’s ‘Overture’, with the first recordings of several arrangements by the late 19th/early 20th century pianist Theodor Szántó’s – featuring his monumental and uncompromising transcriptions of the Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, and the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor.

Emmanuel Despax has gained worldwide recognition as a singular artist, whose interpretations bring a rare sincerity and imagination to the music. A remarkable performer of romantic and post-romantic music, he has been invited to give recital performances in the UK (Wigmore Hall’s London Pianoforte Series, Cadogan Hall, Chipping Campden and Petworth Festivals, and the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, where he was appointed artistic director in 2020 of a complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle). Summer 2021 will see the release of a Brahms album including the Sixteen Waltzes Op. 39 and Piano Concerto No.1 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton.


Emmanuel Despax

Release date: 26/03/21

Catalogue number: SIGCD665

Barcode: 635212066522

1 Overture (Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir, BWV 29) Trans. Camille Saint-Saëns
2 Chaconne from Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004 Trans. Ferruccio Busoni
3 Prelude in B Minor, BWV 855a Trans. Alexander Siloti
4-5 Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, BWV 543 Trans. Franz Liszt
6 Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein, BWV 734 Trans. Ferruccio Busoni
7 Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659 Trans. Ferruccio Busoni
8-9 Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582 Trans. Theodor Szánt
10 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645 Trans. Ferruccio Busoni
11 Ich ruf ’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 Trans. Ferruccio Busoni
12-13 Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor, BWV 542 Trans. Theodor Szánt
14 Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring from Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147 Trans. Myra Hess

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