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Toccata in D minor, BuxWV155
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The Toccata in D minor, BuxWV155, has the form of a praeludium, dramatic improvisatory passages alternating with polyphonic ones. Here, though, the first of the polyphonic sections is a kind of double fugue, its subject never heard without its counter-subject; and the second is a species of triple fugue, its subject invariably heard with two counter-subjects. This second subject includes a four-note figure comprising three semiquavers followed by a crotchet: Buxtehude gradually develops it, and by bar 100 it has begun to dominate the work. Its manifestation in the athletic pedal passages from bar 115 onwards provides a remarkable anticipation of J S Bach’s Toccata in F major, BWV540. Listening to the splendidly rhythmical music of bars 108–121, it is very hard to think that Bach did not know this work.

from notes by Relf Clark © 2010

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