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Prelude and Fugue in D minor 'Fiddle', BWV539


During his time as Kapellmeister at the Court of Cöthen Bach produced hardly any organ music at all, and what he did produce is almost entirely arrangements of his own or other people’s music. Actually, to call the fugue of the Prelude and ‘Fiddle’ Fugue, BWV539, an ‘arrangement’ is something of a misnomer. The Fugue is in fact a thorough-going recomposition of the Fugue from the Sonata No 1 in G minor, for unaccompanied violin, BWV1001. The fugue subject is the soul of brevity and so Bach adds a tiny bit more presence to the exposition in the organ version by introducing one further entry, that in the pedals, thus making the current version two bars longer than the original. Whereas the solo violin can only hint at the continuity of simultaneous contrapuntal lines the hands and feet of the organist can make them real as well as spelling out the harmonic implications of a passage of arpeggios. As always when he reworked a piece, Bach could not resist making tiny adjustments, both harmonically and melodically, thus enriching the original. To introduce this delectable fugue Bach, rather than transcribing the rather flamboyant and declamatory Prelude of the Sonata, provides a more sober piece for manuals only, full of highly expressive dissonances.

from notes by Stephen Westrop 1997


Bach: Organ Miniatures
CDA67211/22CDs Archive Service
Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 5 - Goedicke, Kabalevsky, Catoire & Siloti
Bach: The Complete Organ Works
CDS44121/3616CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted


Movement 1: Prelude
Track 7 on CDA67211/2 CD2 [1'52] 2CDs Archive Service

Track 5 on CDA67506 [2'18]
Track 7 on CDS44121/36 CD6 [1'52] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price) Deleted
Movement 2: Fugue
Track 8 on CDA67211/2 CD2 [4'56] 2CDs Archive Service

Track 6 on CDA67506 [5'57]
Track 8 on CDS44121/36 CD6 [4'56] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price) Deleted

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