It would be unreasonable for anyone to expect a fuller or finer concert experience of Bach's organ music than was provided this past Monday night by Joseph Adam, organist at St James's Cathedral and one of Seattle's most distinguished instrumentalists, at the Watjen organ in Benaroya Hall. Organ recitals in churches are often an hour or so in length, sufficient for one big piece at the beginning, another at the end and a handful of shorter works in between. The scope of Dr. Adam's recital, devoted entirely to Johann Sebastian Bach and promoted by the Seattle Symphony, was that of a full-scale concert of nearly two hours which allowed a generous sampling of all the main forms in which Bach wrote for the instrument. The program was built around no less than three of the great fugal masterpieces which are central pillars of the composer's organ music - indeed of the instrument's entire repertory - the Fantasia and Fugue in G minor which ended the first half of the program, the Toccata and Fugue in F major which began the second half, and the Prelude and Fugue in A minor which brought the evening to an end. We also heard Bach's re-working for organ of Vivaldi's Concerto in A minor for two violins, the three movement Trio Sonata in C, the Canonic Variations on "Von Himmel Hoch," and three chorale preludes from the "Little Organ Book," the collection of meditations for organ on Lutheran hymns. The inclusion of the Trio Sonata and the chorale preludes was particularly welcome. They are rarely performed outside church but represent the most intimate of Bach's organ works, and the most characteristic in the sense that they have few parallels elsewhere in his output. The trio sonatas have an easy inevitability of line and flow which conceals the massive skill and inspiration that went into their composition. They may sound as though they virtually composed themselves, and fall so easily on the ear that they seem almost to play themselves. But they are a supreme example of the art that conceals art and are reputedly amongst the most difficult of Bach's organ music to play. One would not have thought so from Dr Adam's beguiling performance of the fifth sonata, which had flavorful registration and in the sunny outer movements a nice sense of lilt. Generally the Benaroya organ, built by C. B. Fisk, sounded very well in the space, giving the music a bright, open, and attractive sound. It was only in the two quieter and more reflective pieces - the chorale preludes on "Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland" and "O Mensch Bewein" -that one felt that the sensitivity of the interpretation would have come across more fully in a church building giving more patina to the sound. However the exuberant chorale prelude on "In Dir ist Freude" came across strongly. Adam delivered the big fugal pieces with a strong sense of their cumulative drama, avoiding the abrupt switches of manual and registration for the fugal episodes which some organists favor. These were all powerful performances. Particularly successful to my mind was the Toccata and Fugue in F. With its virtuosic pedal solos - Adam's flying feet were impressive to watch - and the series of ever more daring modulations which bring it to an end, the Toccata is one of Bach's most dramatic compositions. It is often thought to overshadow its companion fugue, an austere double fugue with little overt drama. But in this performance, the fugue came across as just as powerful in its own way, with a strong sense of internal development and in Dr Adam's interpretation a climax of shining power. This is apparently the second of three Bach recitals he is giving at Benaroya Hall. The next and final one will be an occasion to watch out for. In the meantime, on February 5, Olivier Latry, the head organist from Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral, will be visiting Adam's own organ loft at St James's Cathedral to play a recital of modern French organ music. It will no doubt be very different in content and style, but it is unlikely to efface the recollection of Adam's achievement at Benaroya this week.