Bach’s organ works played by Albert Schweitzer (1935)

Albert Schweitzer was a German (writing in French also) theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary. As well as his important theological work (he depicted Jesus as literally believing the end of the world was coming in his own lifetime), he developed various theories on music, in particular the work of J.S. Bach. He explained figures and motifs in Bach’s Chorale Preludes as painter-like tonal and rhythmic imagery illustrating themes from the words of the hymns on which they were based. They were works of devotional contemplation in which the musical design corresponded to literary ideas, conceived visually. Schweitzer’s interpretative approach greatly influenced the modern understanding of Bach’s music. His pamphlet “The Art of Organ Building and Organ Playing in Germany and France” (1906) effectively launched the 20th century Orgelbewegung, which turned away from romantic extremes and rediscovered baroque principles. In addition to his contribution to music theory, Schweiter also made many seminal recordings of Bach’s organ recitals. In mid-December 1935 he began to record for Columbia Records on the organ of All Hallows, Barking-by-the-Tower, in London – the recordings above. He developed a particular technique for recording the performances of Bach’s music known as “The Schweitzer Technique” which involved a new positioning of microphones. (Wikipedia)

Housed at: Internet Archive
Underlying Work: PD 70 years | Digital Copy: Pending Clarification
Download: MP3

  • Thomas Martin

    Warner Music Group (WMG) – Claims to own the copyright to this – doesn’t seem to be public domain.

    • Public Domain Review

      Hi Thomas. Not in the U.S. but according to EU copyright law the recordings should be in public domain in the EU (and other jurisdictions with similar copyright laws). In EU Currently copyright lasts for 70 years (recently changed from 50 years) on recordings after publishing date. And of course Bach’s music itself is not under copyright (though I guess there might be an argument that Schweitzer has adapted it in some way?).