E. Power Biggs SACD: Bach on 4 Organs Simultaneously

The latest Multichannel SACD from Sony Classical features E. Power Biggs performing the Four Great Toccatas and Fugues by Bach (Sony Classical SS 87983). The album is a reissue of a well-known Multichannel recording made in October 1973 during the Quad era. Also of note, Biggs plays all four of the Antiphonal Organs at the Cathedral of Freiburg simultaneously as he performs the Bach compositions on the album.

In keeping with the album’s heritage, the new Multichannel SACD features the album liner notes from the original 1970s Quad release by E. Power Biggs and Andrew Kazdin, the original producer of the album. Biggs explains that the Munster of Freiburg has 4 Cathedral Organs stratgeically arranged throughout the length of the building. Each organ is playable from its console. However, there is a fifth console in a central location that allows the organist to play all 4 organs simultaneously.

Biggs says: «At one’s fingertips are the tonal resources of ten manuals, and below, the thunder of four pedals divisions. One may juggle the organs antiphonally, side to side, front to back or criss cross. Or one may unite all forces into a splendid tumult of surround sound.»

Included in the booklet that accompanies the Multichannel SACD is a diagram that shows the placement of the 4 organs in the soundfield. In Multichannel playback, one organ is assigned to each of the corner speakers (Left Front, Right Front, Left Rear and Right Rear). In Stereo playback, the two organs that appear in the rear channels are incorporated in the front channels so that the Left Rear organ appears on the left hand of the Stereo image, inside the Left Front speaker. The organ appearing in the Right Rear is handled similarly, moving that sound to the right hand of the Stereo image, inside the Right Front speaker.

The new Multichannel SACD was produced by Louise de la Fuente and engineered and authored for SACD by Richard King.

Album Selections
1. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565

Toccata and Fugue in F Major, BWV 540
2. Toccata
3. Fugue

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 538 »Dorian»
4. Toccata
5. Fugue

Toccata and Fugue in C Major, BWV 564
6. Toccata
7. Adagio
8. Fugue

Other Recent Sony Music SACD Releases
In addition to the E. Power Biggs SACD, Sony Music has also released 4 other Multichannel SACDs in recent weeks. These SACDs are:

  • Johnny Cash — Silver (Columbia CS 86791)
  • Oasis — (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? (Epic ES 67351)
  • Original Broadway Cast — A Chorus Line (Sony Classical SS 65282)
  • Bernstein, NY Philharmonic — Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4, Nutcracker Suite (Sony Classical SS 87982)

    Single Layer Multichannel SACDs
    As with previous Sony Music Multichannel SACDs, all of these releases are Single Layer SACDs. The discs contain both a Multichannel SACD and a Stereo SACD version of the music on the album and they are only playable on SACD equipment.

    The new Multichannel SACDs by E. Power Biggs and the four recent Sony Music SACD releases are now available from Tower Records as well as several web stores that carry SACDs including Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc, Music Direct and Red Trumpet.
    Bach: The Four Great Toccatas and Fugues - Played by E. Power Biggs (Sony Classical SS 87983)Bach: The Four Great Toccatas and Fugues — Played by E. Power Biggs (Sony Classical SS 87983)