The Fantasia in C minor begins with tremendous force and decision. Its energy comes from three motifs: a descending arpeggio in the right hand (which soon becomes, in the left hand, an ascending one), an octave leap, and a rattling trill. In the fifth bar Bach introduces two more fragments—a chromatic scale and a playful leaping figure—both of which play major roles later on (the latter appearing in a treacherous passage close to the end where many a player will come to grief!). Much of its appeal lies in the sections that require hand-crossing—both the Italian type (using large skips), and in the French manner (one hand playing within the span of the other). Written sometime around 1738, this work must surely have influenced Bach’s son, Carl Philipp Emanuel in his development of sonata form.
from notes by Angela Hewitt © 1994