J.S. Bach: Three Or One - Transcriptions by Fred Thomas Fred Thomas

Cover J.S. Bach: Three Or One - Transcriptions by Fred Thomas

Album info



Label: ECM New Series

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Chamber Music

Artist: Fred Thomas

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)

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  • Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750):
  • 1J.S. Bach: 6 Choräle von verschiedener Art, BWV 645-650: Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 649 (Arr. Thomas)02:34
  • Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644:
  • 2J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: Herr Christ, der ein’ge Gottes Sohn, BWV 601 (Arr. Thomas)01:59
  • 3J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 (Arr. Thomas)02:22
  • 4J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt, BWV 637 (Arr. Thomas)02:22
  • Johann Sebastian Bach:
  • 5J.S. Bach: Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott, BWV 721 (Arr. Thomas)04:46
  • 6J.S. Bach: Der Herr denket an uns, Cantata BWV 196: Sinfonia (Arr. Thomas)01:54
  • Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644:
  • 7J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: Alle Menschen müssen sterben, BWV 643 (Arr. Thomas)01:39
  • 8J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich, BWV 605 (Arr. Thomas)01:15
  • 9J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: Christe, du Lamm Gottes, BWV 619 (Arr. Thomas)01:23
  • 10J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 633 (Arr. Thomas)03:48
  • Johann Sebastian Bach:
  • 11J.S. Bach: Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht, Cantata BWV 105: Aria "Wie zittern und wanken der Sünder Gedanken" (Arr. Thomas)04:59
  • 12J.S. Bach: Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten, Cantata BWV 202 "Wedding Cantata": Aria "Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten" (Arr. Thomas)02:51
  • 13J.S. Bach: O heilges Geist- und Wasserbad, Cantata BWV 165: Aria "Jesu, meines Todes Tod" (Arr. Thomas)02:09
  • 14J.S. Bach: Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, Cantata BWV 33: Aria "Wie furchtsam wankten meine Schritte" (Arr. Thomas)03:58
  • 15J.S. Bach: Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein, BWV Anh. II 78: Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein, BWV Anh. 78 (Arr. Thomas)00:54
  • 16J.S. Bach: Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, BWV 723 (Arr. Thomas)02:10
  • 17J.S. Bach: O Gott, Du frommer Gott, BWV 767: O Gott, Du frommer Gott, BWV 767 (Arr. Thomas)03:09
  • Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644:
  • 18J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: O Lamm Gottes unschuldig, BWV 618 (Arr. Thomas)04:11
  • 19J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 610 (Arr. Thomas)02:59
  • Johann Sebastian Bach:
  • 20J.S. Bach: Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr', BWV 711 (Arr. Thomas)02:30
  • Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644:
  • 21J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: In dulci jubilo, BWV 608 (Arr. Thomas)01:10
  • 22J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: Gott, durch deine Güte, BWV 600 (Arr. Thomas)00:44
  • 23J.S. Bach: Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599-644: Das alte Jahr vergangen ist, BWV 614 (Arr. Thomas)02:17
  • Johann Sebastian Bach:
  • 24J.S. Bach: 6 Choräle von verschiedener Art, BWV 645-650: Meine Seele erhebt den Herren, BWV 648 (Arr. Thomas)03:04
  • Total Runtime01:01:07

Info for J.S. Bach: Three Or One - Transcriptions by Fred Thomas

Fred Thomas is an ECM artist who studied at the Royal Academy of Music and is one of London's most sought after multi-instrumentalists and composer/arranger/producers. Here is Johann Sebastian Bach in transfigured light: with organ chorale preludes, vocal cantata movements and orchestral sinfonias 24 pieces in all transcribed for trio and solo piano by Fred Thomas, and threaded into a compelling new sequence by Manfred Eicher.

On Three Or One, Bach appears in transfigured light. Fred Thomas’ ECM New Series debut presents organ chorale preludes, vocal cantata movements and orchestral sinfonias – 24 pieces in all – transcribed for trio and solo piano by the British pianist himself. Throughout, Bach’s idiom is thoughtfully explored by three innovative players – a process Thomas describes as “quietly joyful” – and the trio pieces, primarily drawn from Bach’s Orgelbüchlein, acquire a fresh character in the hands of Thomas, violinist Aisha Orazbayeva and cellist Lucy Railton.

Both respectful of the original musical texts but unique in their execution, Thomas’ reformulations strike a rare balance between moderation and innovation. In the process, the pianist draws attention to various techniques used to “separate the voices and avoid the typical blending and blurring of the organ in a church. Particularly interesting to me,” he explains, “was to illuminate how the musical characters interact, sometimes stubbornly ignoring one another as they continue their trajectories, other times moving in separate dimensions, unaware of anything but themselves, and often intertwining in a kind of blissful symbiosis.”

The pianist points to the tradition of improvisation that prevails in baroque music, elucidating his understated approach to Bach’s texts by referring to the spontaneous improvisational design that distinguished the changeable art of counterpoint in Bach’s time. Pointing to the things that were played but not written in the musical text, Thomas notes that “Baroque musicians shared a clear understanding of what the interpreter must contribute.” A skill that translates to the pianist’s fellow interpreters on this recording and, enhanced by their versatile musical backgrounds, helped form these unique adaptations: “That we can’t help but bring too many things to the table is an incitement to creativity. Bach often re-used his own material and it is no surprise it came out differently each time. With his imaginative, technical and improvisatory powers, do we really believe that Bach would play the same thing the same way twice?” It’s a good question, and the key to the approach taken on Three Or One.

“A brilliant young trio. With extreme sensitivity to colour and nuance, Fred Thomas has made these organ preludes into tiny character pieces for chamber ensemble” (BBC Music Magazine)

“Thomas’ treatment of the Baroque score was modern but respectful. The pieces were full of colour and creativity making full use of the dynamic combination of violin, cello and piano…great concept” (Bachtrack)

Fred Thomas, piano
Aisha Orazbayeva, violin
Lucy Railton, cello

Fred Thomas
is one of London’s most sought after multi-instrumentalists and composer/arranger/producers, known for his breadth of musical styles as well as for specialising in creative re-interpretations of J.S. Bach.

Thomas has collaborated with a huge variety of artists worldwide including Brian Eno, Yo-Yo Ma, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Jordi Savall, Meredith Monk, Jarvis Cocker, Rachel Podger, Elizabeth Kenny, Ethan Iverson, Larry Grenadier, Benoît Delbecq, Kit Downes, Tamara Stefanovich, Abel Salaocoe, Leo Abrahams, Kadialy Kouyate and Olivia Chaney. He has released a large discography of albums across various genres, particularly classical and jazz, and is published by Spartan Press and Edition Wilhelm Hansen.

Having started to play classical piano at the age of five, Thomas went on to study jazz piano and composition at the Royal Academy of Music, where he developed an interest in rhythmic cultures from Africa and Latin America, free improvisation, contemporary classical, improvised counterpoint and Baroque music, in particular Bach. He works regularly as Musical Director with the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe and teaches at Trinity Laban Conservatoire.

Thomas’s first appearance on ECM Records came in 2020 as pianist/drummer on Elina Duni’s “Lost Ships”, together with Rob Luft and Mathieu Michel. His subsequent ECM album and debut as leader comes on the New Series label with “Three or One”, 24 pieces by Bach transcribed for trio and solo piano by Thomas himself, featuring cellist Lucy Railton and violinist Aisha Orazbayeva, released in October 2021.

Booklet for J.S. Bach: Three Or One - Transcriptions by Fred Thomas

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