Edward Johnson writes…

Doubtless due to its inclusion in Walt Disney’s Fantasia, Stokowski’s arrangement of the Toccata and Fugue has become one of the most performed orchestrations of any of Bach’s organ works. In addition to his own several recordings, it has been taken up on disc by a dozen other conductors, including Wolfgang Sawallisch, Seiji Ozawa, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Esa-Pekka Salonen, José Serebrier and Richard Egarr.

YouTube yields a number of radio broadcasts and TV transmissions and from these come three splendid performances of the piece. It was the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1954 who gave the arrangement its UK premiere under Stokowski’s direction in a TV programme entitled “The Conductor Speaks”. The same orchestra played it at the First Night of the 2000 BBC Proms in a performance conducted by Andrew Davis. As a tribute to the arranger, he followed in Stokowski’s footsteps by conducting without a baton!

Leonard Slatkin retained his baton for this performance of the piece in a Detroit Symphony concert in 2017. Bach transcriptions were not new to Leonard, as he had made two first-class recordings of assorted arrangements for Chandos some two decades ago, while this performance of the Stokowski arrangement fully deserves the resounding “Bravo!” at the end…

Finally we go to Tokyo and hear it played by the NHK Symphony Orchestra, whose principal conductor at the time (1996-2003) was Charles Dutoit. The curious thing about this performance is the split-second time-lag between Dutoit’s downbeats and the orchestra coming in!


Anderson additions…

1967; Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

1972; Czech Philharmonic.


For comparison, and turning full-circle to Andrew Davis, https://www.colinscolumn.com/many-happy-returns-to-sir-andrew-davis-79-today-conducts-toccata-fugue-in-d-minor-attrib-j-s-bach-bwv565-orch-henry-wood/, Henry Wood’s orchestration.