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Track(s) taken from CDA66434

Toccata and Fugue in F major, BWV540


Christopher Herrick (organ)
Recording details: May 1990
Stadtkirche, Zofingen, Switzerland
Produced by Paul Spicer
Engineered by Paul Niederberger
Release date: December 1990
Total duration: 13 minutes 54 seconds

Cover artwork: Porch of Ratisbon (Regensburg) Cathedral by Samuel Prout (1783-1852)

Other recordings available for download

David Goode (organ)


'Stupendous organ sound … one of the three Bach CDs I will turn to over and over again for sheer enjoyment' (Gramophone)

'If you only have one disc of organ music in your collection this must be it' (The Good CD Guide)

'Masterly interpretations' (Organists' Review)

'Authoritative performances, impeccable technique, brilliant recorded sound—a winner' (Church Music Quarterly)
The F major Toccata and Fugue BWV540 is extraordinary, taking the toccata model and enlarging it to striking proportions, on many levels. First, the level of textural variety: the famous canonic semiquaver texture heard at the start in the manual over a static pedal; trio sections; pedal solos; rhetorical cadences. Then on the level of technical requirement and virtuosic showcasing: two long, dazzlingly virtuosic pedal solos. Also of structural length: a massive AAB structure, with the B section containing multiple repeating elements. Yet this complexity in extremis masks a simplicity that is reflected by the spinning repetitions of the opening imitative phrase that profiles a simple rising sequence, and a playfulness highlighted by the Toccata’s containing elements of a Giga.

The Fugue is a complete contrast. As with other giants of the toccata and fugue genres, the coupling is not necessarily authentic. The Toccata’s improvisatory style, marked by a showcase of virtuosity, is replaced by a contrapuntal strictness in the form of a double fugue. The two subjects themselves contrast nicely—the first in a stile antico, thoughtful, conjunct, in regular note values; the second syncopated and disjunct.

from notes by George Parsons © 2016

Other albums featuring this work

Bach: The Complete Organ Works, Vol. 3
Studio Master: SIGCD803Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Bach: Toccatas and Fugues
CDA30004Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Bach: The Complete Organ Works
CDS44121/3616CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted
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