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Track(s) taken from CDA67709

Toccata and Fugue in F major, BWV540


Piers Lane (piano)
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Release date: March 2010
Total duration: 25 minutes 50 seconds

Cover artwork: Front illustration by Donya Claire James (b?)

Other recordings available for download

David Goode (organ)
Christopher Herrick (organ)


'Lane takes no prisoners in these sonorous and exhilarating performances, conjuring up from the Steinway's richly resonant bass a cathedral's 32 foot pedal division to thrilling effect … I guarantee you will come away awed anew by the genuis of Bach and amazed by the ingenuity of d'Albert' (Gramophone)

'D'Albert's versions of the the C minor Passacaglia, and the Preludes and Fugues in C minor and A major, are extraordinary and exquisite, and Lane plays them with a ravishing finesse that belies their often monumental difficulty' (The Guardian)

'I found Lane's Prelude (Toccata) and Fugue in D minor, BWV538 unassailably alive to the possibilities that both Bach and d'Albert leave open. The rhythmic impulse never flags, the pithy contrapuntal detail keeps afloat and there is a subliminal sense of goal to keep the thing intact. The A major Fugue, BWV536 shows the pianist highly authoritative and, for me, underlines the highest musicianship' (International Record Review)

'Masterly performances by Piers Lane. D'Albert's versions … didn't attempt to make the instrument sound like a cathedral organ. In his ingenious hands, they become compelling piano pieces' (The Sunday Times)
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: Toccatas and Fugues
Bach: The Complete Organ Works
CDS44121/3616CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted
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