The Toccata in C minor, BWV911 opens with a flourish, and quickly establishes the no-nonsense mood that pervades the work. A motet-like adagio then appears, the end of which returns briefly to the improvisatory style of the beginning. The rest of the toccata is taken up by one of Bach’s longest but most arresting fugues. Its very extended subject, with the teasing repetition of the opening motive, is typical of his younger years. After already going on for four pages, he introduces, after a pause, a second subject that is a terrific accompaniment to the original one, adding rhythmic impulse and excitement. Not quite content to end there, Bach returns briefly to an adagio, only to let loose in the final line with a presto descent to a low C.
from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2002