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Toccata and Fugue in F major, BWV540


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


Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 8 - Eugen d'Albert
Bach: The Complete Organ Works, Vol. 3
Studio Master: SIGCD803Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Bach: Toccatas and Fugues
Bach: The Complete Organ Works
CDS44121/3616CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted


Movement 1: Prelude
Movement 1: Toccata
Track 6 on CDA66434 [8'44]
Track 5 on SIGCD803 [8'26] Download only
Track 6 on CDS44121/36 CD4 [8'44] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted
Movement 2: Fugue
Track 7 on CDA66434 [5'10]

Track 7 on CDA67709 [5'16]
Track 6 on SIGCD803 [5'36] Download only
Track 7 on CDS44121/36 CD4 [5'10] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Deleted

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