Craig Leon Puts The Synth Back In Classical Music With ‘Bach To Moog’


Sony Classical has announced a new release, Bach To Moog, an album that’s expected to be the first created with Moog Music’s reissued System 55 modular synthesizer. 

At the 2015 NAMM Show, Moog announced that it was reissuing three iconic Moog Modular synthesizer systems: the System 55, the System 35 and the Model 15. The three systems were originally introduced by Moog in 1973.

Bach To Moog – produced by composer, arranger and producer Craig Leon – recalls the 1968 Walter/Wendy Carlos album, Switched On Bach, which was many listeners’ introduction to the possibilities of synthesizers.

craig-leon-bach-to-moogThe career of Craig Leon, right and above, has bridged the worlds of classical and popular music. He’s produced albums by The Ramones, Blondie, The Bangles, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Berlin, Shonen Knife and others. In the world of classical music, Leon has produced and arranged classical albums by Joshua Bell, Sir James Galway, Luciano Pavarotti and others.

Leon is also known for his own electronic compositions, including Nommos and The Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music.

With Bach to Moog, Leon builds on his experience in classical music, electronic music and synthesizers. In addition to the Moog System 55, the arrangements feature British classical violinist Jennifer Pike and the Sinfonietta Cracovia.

Bach To Moog is schedule for release on May 5, 2015.

Bach To Moog Tracklist:

  • Preludio from the Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major BWV 1006
  • “Jesu Meine Freude” from the cantata “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben” BWV 147
  • Arioso (Sinfonia) from the cantata “Ich Steh Mit Einem Fuß im Grabe” BWV 156
  • Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BWV 565
  • Siciliano from the Violin Sonata No. 4 in C Minor BWV 1017
  • Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G Major BWV 1049 Movement 1: Allegro
  • Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G Major BWV 1049 Movement 2: Andante
  • Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G Major BWV 1049 Movement 3: Presto
  • Air from the Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major BWV 1068
  • Aria from the Goldberg Variations BWV 988
  • 14 Canons on the Goldberg Ground BWV 1087


  • Craig Leon – Moog Synthesizer
  • Jennifer Pike – Solo Violin
  • Sinfonietta Cracovia

25 thoughts on “Craig Leon Puts The Synth Back In Classical Music With ‘Bach To Moog’

    1. Living in the 80’s (1980) ??
      I remember going into the music store and all they were pushing was samplers and saying analog is dead

    1. Bill – if you skimmed the article, you may have missed this:

      “Bach To Moog – produced by composer, arranger and producer Craig Leon – recalls the 1968 Walter/Wendy Carlos album, Switched On Bach, which was many listeners’ introduction to the possibilities of synthesizers.”

      1. I wish people would not refer to TS people as “him/her.” The original Switched On Bach was created by Walter Carlos. Albums after 1972 were created by Wendy Carlos. It’s as simple as that. Wendy is the liberated version of Walter. There is no slash required.

        1. I just remembered it was wendy on mine, then years learn about the walter connection, but never got time to do research on that.
          The fact that was more interesting was how hard it was to do because of the voltage drift problems and how retuning of the VCOs was the biggest problem and was one thing the invention of midi was trying to fix

        2. gridsleep

          Thanks for the feedback.

          There’s no ‘him/her’ reference in the article, only ‘Walter/Wendy’ – an acknowledgement that ‘Switched On Bach’ has been released under both names.

          This is our approach to dealing with a niche case where an album has been released by an artist, at different times, using two different first names. To attribute the album to just Walter Carlos or Wendy Carlos would disregard that history.

        1. Bill

          If you’ve got suggestions on how to note something more clearly than to mention it prominently, in bold, in the third paragraph of a post, let us know.

          1. been nice if in first paragraph on main page, half the time I click on continue reading the next page jumps down toward bottom. Maybe you page has too much flash enabled, I do get jumped around sometimes and miss the point.
            I miss the carlos part and hate being canned on it. If I saw it I would have said great its about time for it to come back
            Just like to point out how much classical music sounds real good on great sounding synths and its a shame that more is not done. Even MFOS gear can produce great classic sound

  1. I was introduced to the magic of synths by W. Carlos & I.Tomita, I love playing Bach, so this is a must-have for me 😀

    When was the term “Classitronics” coined for the genre? It sounds a bit pejorative, and I must say it’s a pity that more classical musicians have no embraced synthesisers and modern technology. Most classical musicians are incredibly conservative, although the composers they worship invariably were not – Bach in particular was a huge innovator & musical explorer, and he played the most complex additive synthesiser of the time: the pipe-organ.

    1. It would be amazing to hear what his music be like if he had access to modern equipment of today.
      Vangelis and jean michel jarre come to mind
      Although the infinity song does make me wonder

    2. How’s ‘classitronica’ pejorative? A lot of synth fans use that as a term for the type of music pioneered by Carlos and Tomita.

      This type of music may never have been accepted by mainstream classical music world, because maybe it’s a little ‘classical lite’. But Carlos’s Brandenberg’s are amazing!

    1. Think there’s no room to be original with synths in classical music? Seems to me like it’s an area that’s been neglected for thirty years!

      I’m looking forward to hearing this!

  2. I’ll be honest, I’m a little surprised to see that most people here are looking forward to this album. Wasn’t this done years ago? It smacks of a mailed-in idea that came straight from Sony’s crack marketing team. That said, it looks like I’m in stark company with this idea. Strange… I’d think you guys would want to hear something new, something that actually pushes the creative boundaries of the synth rather than a bunch of multi-tracked monosynth lines. Maybe that was cool and new and creative when Walter Carlos did it, but it sin’t anymore IMO. Maybe I’m being premature in my judgement, and I’ll eat my words if I am, but I think I’ll be going hungry…

  3. You certainly are being premature in your judgement since it appears that you haven’t checked the project out on Moog Music’s web site. Please have a look at the video and have a listen to the material that has been put up regarding this project. Unfortunately you most assuredly will have to “eat your words” since the actual recording is in no way what you’re describing and does not involve simply multi tracked mono synth lines.

  4. This is one of those rare occasion where I can enjoy my love for electronic sounds and classical music in the same musical place. Plain and simple.

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