The Toccata in E minor, BWV914 is a well-constructed and appealing work. The main curiosity here is the origin of the concluding fugue. Large parts of it seem to be borrowed directly from an anonymous composition discovered in a Naples manuscript. The subject, which certainly has elements of the Italian violin style, is almost identical. The episodes, however, contain material by Bach that is more refined and complex than anything written by the mysterious Italian. Preceding it are three sections: a brief introduction in the lower register of the keyboard; a double fugue marked ‘Un poco Allegro’; and a cadenza-like adagio that is written over a descending bass line. The latter is marked ‘Praeludium’ in one copy made by a Bach student, which leads us to think that it was perhaps, along with the fugue, an independent composition before being recycled as part of the toccata.
from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2002