Novum Record Label Releases First Solo Organ Recording with Debut from Dónal McCann

This month (June 2022), the Novum record label released its first solo organ recording with the debut from Dónal McCann on the organ of New College, Oxford.

The album – entitled Bach & Walther: Concerto Transcriptions – explores J.S. Bach’s relationship with the music of his German and Italian contemporaries with rare virtuosic repertoire featuring concerto transcriptions by Bach and J.G. Walther of concertos by Antonio VivaldiJohann ErnstGiuseppe TorelliTomaso Albinoni and Giulio Taglietti.

Organist Dónal McCann said: ‘Vivaldi’s first major collection of concertos took Europe by storm at the start of the 18th Century, and this album shows how Bach responded to this new Venetian voice. Bach’s professional and personal life was also entwined with his German contemporary, Johann Gottfried Walther, both men sharing an interest in transcription and moving in the professional worlds of Weimar court music. By focusing on transcription, this disc offers a unique insight into both composers’ compositional practices and also asks fundamental questions about the creative nature of transcription itself.’

Transcriptions on this album by J.S. Bach include Antonio Vivaldi’s RV 522, 565, 208; and two concertos by Johann Ernst. J.G Walther’s transcriptions include Vivaldi’s RV 275, and concertos by Giuseppe Torelli (op. 8 no 7), Tomaso Albinoni (op. 2 no 10) and Giulio Taglietti.

McCann has been the Assistant Organist at New College, Oxford, since September 2020 when he was previously organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge. He has featured on several recordings, tours and broadcasts, including the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College. He has given many recitals around the UK and abroad and has recently appeared as a guest soloist with the Ulster Orchestra and the Academy of Ancient Music.

Bach & Walther: Concerto Transcriptions (NCR 1395) is released on all digital formats and CD on 11 June 2022.