Prelude, Toccata, Fantasia & Fugue for instrumentenes dronning
Det er vanskelig og tenke seg noe mektigere enn Bachs kraftfulle orgelverk når preluder, toccataer, fantasier & fuger drar seg til via instrumentenes dronning. Det føles som hele universet spiller med, og overtoner sender kaskader av dirrende klangflater ut i rommet - så du kjenner katedralen rister i grunnvollene.
I denne delen av Bachs orgelverk vil det her i ukronologisk orden deles slike opplevelser hvor orgelkraft, interpretasjon, lyd og bilde greier å gjenspeile noen av disse kvalitetene.
Bach gjør alt større, dypere, tettere og mer mangfoldig. Han overvelder med fantasi og kvalitet i et kompositorisk mesterskap. Han er teknisk og intellektuelt utfordrende gjennom sin kompleksitet og perfeksjon. Han er en europeer slik han smelter sammen det beste av tysk, fransk og italiensk tradisjon. Han beveger oss med vitalitet og kraft og følelsesdybde. Han er universell og når inn i ulike religiøse og kulturelle miljøer, også islam og buddhisme.
- Fra Torkil Baden sin nye bok "Bach og hans orgelunivers"
BWV 531 Preludium & fugue i C-dur - Laurens de Man
In 1748, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a letter of recommandation for the organ builder Heinrich Andreas Contius (1708-1795), a master of his craft, stemming from the Silbermann-Wagner tradition. Few of his instruments, which represented a sound world that is very suitable for Bach's music, survive today. The Contius Foundation realised a magnificent copy of the Contius organ in Liepaja, of which case and some pipework are preserved. After meticulous research, the organ was built by Joris Potvlieghe (Tollembeek, Belgium), in collaboration with Flentrop Orgelbouw (Zaandam, The Netherlands). The instrument is located in the baroque St.-Michielskerk in Leuven, Belgium, which provides a monumental ambience and rich acoustic. I'm extremely honoured to be "Organist in Residence" of this very inspiring instrument for the season 2022-2023; this role includes, a.o., playing regular concerts. In a series of recordings, I hope to share the beauty of this project. But if you have the chance: most welcome to experience the instrument live in concert...!!
BWV 532 Preludium & fugue i D-dur - Ute Gremmel-Geuchen
Ute Gremmel-Geuchen plays J.S.Bach's famous Prelude and Fuge in D Major BWV 532 on the Verschueren organ at the Paterskirche in Kempen (Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia). The beautiful instrument is a true to style reconstruction of an original Christian Ludwig König organ from 1752. The wonderful organ case is original!
Ute Gremmel-Geuchen has recorded seven CDs on the AEOLUS record label, five of which are part of our J.S.Bach "Complete Organ Works on Silbermann Organs" SACD edition. The other CDs include an organ portrait of the König-Verschueren organ (first CD after the organ's inauguration) and a recently released SACD album with transcriptions for violin and organ: "Copyright J.S.Bach".
BWV 533 Preludium & fugue i c-moll - Dorien Schouten
"When I started playing this piece a long time ago, I probably played it less freely than I do now." Organist Dorien Schouten talks about the Prelude and fugue in E minor, which she performed for All of Bach.
When I started playing this piece a long time ago, I probably played it less freely than I do now.
- Dorien Schouten
This Prelude and fugue in E minor, performed by Dorien Schouten for All of Bach, originates from the time when Bach was still in his twenties. He had just got his first real job in Arnstadt. This position as a highly paid organist had fallen into his lap in 1703, after a brilliant performance when testing the new organ. But a couple of years later, it was actually criticism of his organ playing that was given as one of the reasons for letting him go. He was supposedly played too many strange notes and variations in his chorale preludes. The church council believed that this confused the congregation.
BWV 535 Preludium & fugue i c-moll - Leo van Doeselaar
"If you look at this piece and play it, it's like a harpsichord piece." Organist Leo van Doeselaar talks about the Prelude and fugue in G minor, which he performed for All of Bach.
If you look at this piece and play it, it's like a harpsichord piece.
- Leo van Doeselaar
Organist Leo van Doeselaar performs the Prelude and fugue in G minor for All of Bach. There's no prelude without a fugue, you would think. Yet it is questionable whether Bach thought up this pair of works together, as the prelude bears more resemblance in style to his early works than the fugue. Bach may have written the prelude directly after making acquaintance with Buxtehude, who constructed his preludes - as Bach does here - in neat, well-defined movements.
BWV 537 Fantasia & fugue i c-moll - Nils Henrik Asheim
J.S.Bach: Fantasia et Fuga c-moll, BWV 537 performed by Nils Henrik Asheim, organist of Stavanger konserthus. Organ by Ryde&berg 2013.
Nils Henrik Asheim (b.1960) enjoys a combined career as composer and performer. He started out as a composition pupil of Olav Anton Thommessen and made his début at the UNM nordic festival for young composers in Helsinki at the early age of fifteen. In 1978 he was awarded the EBU Rostrum prize for his work Ensemblemusikk for 5. He subsequently went on to study organ and composing at the Norwegian Academy of Music and the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam.
Fantasia & Fugue in c-moll arranged for orchestra by Edward Elgar
Elgar had been hoping to write a new piece of his own for the Gloucester festival in 1922, but following his wife´s death he was finding it impossible to write original music because, as he said, "The upset has been to great", so, instead, he turned for solace and inspiration to the music of Bach, and the magnificent orchestral showpiece was the result.
BWV 538 Toccata und Fuge d-Moll ("Dorische") - Angela Metzger
The toccata is a model of rhetoric, wrapped up in a perpetuum mobile of semiquavers. The opening motif, which is almost a theme, is presented, commented on, confirmed, rearranged and reconfirmed, etc. Each musical gesture is derived from that single motif, which in itself is a wonderful achievement. Bach adds extra contrast through a lively dialogue between the great organ and the chair organ. And finally, to optimise the balance, short passages with 'tense' chords are consistently followed by stretches of brighter music.
The fugue, too, puts layer upon layer. The theme begins simply, although the second bar already sees a shift in rhythm and the start of the upward leaps, which lead later on to some very exciting combinations. There are two counter-themes (one of which resembles the toccata motif briefly), both of which are unbroken and overlap the theme perfectly, so that the piece never unwinds. After the first use of the pedal, the fugue feels its way forwards as Bach introduces his melodies in canon, first between the bass and the soprano, and then in three middle voices, until the threads can barely be disentangled. The end of the fugue breaks through the intoxicating interplay of lines and refers back pointedly to the toccata with sharp question-and-answer chords.
Kilde: All of Bach
The epithet 'Dorian' appears for the first time in a Peters publication from 1845, probably because the work is notated in D minor (with one flat) with no key signature, like the Dorian mode.
- All of Bach
is a concert organist from Munich who brings her audience closer to the whole range of organ literature; her mission is to interpret organ music from the late Renaissance to the present day in a refreshing new way ‒ precisely, and with a distinct sense for the powerful magic of the "queen of instruments". She takes pride in creating a profound understanding for each musical era by immersing herself in every piece and loves sharing her discoveries with her audience. During her performances she provides entertaining introductions, thus making modern and contemporary repertoire accessible to everyone.
BWV 540 Toccata & fugue i F-dur - Ullrich Böhme
Trykk på bildet for å se & høre opptaket fra Thomaskirken!
Prof. Ullrich Böhme is organist at the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig since 1986.
The toccata starts with a large linear canon over a pedal point in F major. It is then followed by a pedal solo based upon material from the canon. The canon is reiterated with some variations in the dominant in C major. This time the hands are switched, and the left hand leads the right. This is again followed by a long pedal solo. The two large canon flourishes cover 108 measures of the composition. The pedal solos cover 60 measures. The concerto movement exhibits a seven-part structure. The canons and pedal solos effect the departure from the home key of F to the dominant C, and the rest of the movement, with its concertante 3-part imitation and "proto-waltzes", constitute the harmonic return. This formal pattern is unique within all of Bach's works.
The Toccata (as a prelude) is proportionally the largest of all Bach's works in the format of prelude-fugue. It is often treated as a show piece, with the ensuing fugue omitted. The Toccata's rhythmic signature suggests a passepied or a musette, although the large scale of the movement does not support these characterizations.
Nor does the harmonic complexity of the composition; 45 measures after the second pedal solo there is a dominant chord which resolves deceptively to the third-inversion secondary dominant of the Neapolitan chord. In particular, the doubled root is found to move outward in contrary chromatic motion to a major 9th; in the bass by a descending half tone, far from the expected fifth. Bach implements this deceptive cadence three times in the piece; it would not become idiomatic until Chopin and Tchaikovsky.
The first subject (entries in the tenor, alto and soprano voices shown above) of the fugue is chromatic and ornamental. The second subject has many modulation shifts and is sometimes initially presented as the counter-subject of the first. The Fugue is Bach's only thorough-going double fugue, where two subjects are exposed in separate sections and then combined. The effect is enhanced by the increasing rhythmic activity of the second subject and by the more frequent use of modulation in the final section of the fugue.
The bravura of the F major toccata, with its pedal solos and manual virtuosity, contrasts with the sober opening of the Fugue. Both represent two diverse aspects of Italian influence: the motoric rhythms and sequential passagework of the Toccata, and the traditional alla breve counterpoint of the Fugue, with its chromaticism, harmonic suspensions, and uninterrupted succession of subjects and answers. These techniques are very similar to those used in the "Dorian" Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 538.
BWV 542 Fantasia & fugue i g-moll -Leo van Doeselaar
The Fantasia and fugue in G minor, performed by Leo van Doeselaar for All of Bach, is one of the few organ works that can accurately be dated. Bach performed this work in Hamburg, where the post of organist at St Jacob's Church became vacant in 1720. During a recital lasting over two hours, he demonstrated his skills as an organist and struck his audience dumb. One member of that audience was the former organist Reincken, the eminence grise of the Hamburg music scene, who praised Bach's improvisational art as follows: 'I thought this skill had died out, but I see it lives on in you'.
"The Fantasia is a very free composition with incredible dissonances and an incredible rhetoric." Organist Leo van Doeselaar talks about the Fantasia in fugue in G minor, which he performed for All of Bach.
Kilde: All of Bach
BWV 543 Preludium & fugue i a-moll - Sebastian Heindl
Sebastian Heindl plays the Bach organ of St. Thomas Church Leipzig.
In 2021 the leading German newspaper DIE ZEIT titled: "Sebastian Heindl does not just play the organ. He can lift his audience up to Heaven or plunge them into misery - a miracle musician from Leipzig".
He received his fundamental musical education as a chorister in Leipzig's famous St. Thomas Boys Choir, where Johann Sebastian Bach was once the director of music. After that Heindl continued his studies in Church Music at Leipzig conservatory with Prof. Martin Schmeding and Prof. Thomas Lennartz.
Over the past years he attracted the attention of the international organ scene by earning a number of prizes in organ competitions all around the globe.
He maintains a close cooperation with the Berliner Philharmoniker. During the COVID-19 pandemic he recorded a much appreciated concert with the Berlin Phil Brass Ensemble for the Digital Concert Hall. Since then he appeared frequently as a soloist and ensemble player at the Philharmonie.
The main focus of his extensive repertoire are the works of Bach, which he has memorized for the most part, the works by Liszt, Franck, Reger and Messiaen. He is particularly famous for his own transcriptions, among which are classical masterworks by Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Saint-Saens, Dukas, Mussorgsky, Holst and Gershwin. Sebastian Heindl also appears as improviser and composer. His highly individual own musical language consists of elements of modern Jazz music and classical formal structures. In 2021 and 2022 he conducted Bach cantata services at St. Thomas Church Leipzig and at the Leipzig University Church St. Pauli.
Live Performance of Liszt's transcription of Bach's Organ Prelude and Fugue BWV 543 - Jorge Luis Prats, Piano.
BWV 544 Preludium & fugue i h-moll - Alexander de Bie
The dramatic Praeludium und Fuge in h-moll, played by Alexander de Bie (19), during livestream concert "Met Bach het jaar uit" in the Westerkerk Amsterdam, 30-12-2020
BWV 545 Preludium & fugue i C-dur - Bart Jacobs
The Prelude and fugue in C major, performed by Bart Jacobs for All of Bach, starts off with great self-assurance. With hops, steps and jumps, the pedal goes to a throbbing low C three times, while the right hand builds up a full chord. The equally self-assured fugue is rooted firmly in the key of C major, which is never really called into question.
BWV 546 Preludium & fugue i c-moll - Ton Koopman
The most important manuscript of this Prelude and fugue in C minor, performed by Ton Koopman for All of Bach, was written by Johan Peter Kellner (1705-1754). He grew up and worked his whole life in central Germany, where he got to know Bach, whom he greatly admired. It is thanks to pupils and admirers like Kellner that much of Bach's music has survived at all. The most important manuscript of this Prelude and fugue in C minor was written by Kellner.
However, this also leads to questions, as is often the case with music we do not have in Bach's own hand. Everyone agrees that the monumental prelude is 100% Bach. It forms a stylistic and thematic entity. But opinions are somewhat divided about the fugue. That central section where the theme disappears (and where all the counterpoint even evaporates briefly) - is it really by Bach? Could Kellner have tinkered with the fugue? Or could the fugue be his composition entirely? In any case, we know he did have Bachian improvisation skills. Once, Kellner was sitting at the organ when Bach happened to enter the church and he improvised a fugue on the spot, on the German note names B A C H (B-flat, A, C, B).
"Johann Sebastian Bach thought Zacharias Hildebrandt was the best organ builder. This organ in Naumburg was approved and inaugurated by Bach." Organist Ton Koopman talks about the special Hildebrandt organ in the Stadtkirche St Wenzel in Naumburg, on which he played during recordings for All of Bach.
BWV 548 Preludium & fugue i e-moll - Christophe Mantoux
Christophe Mantoux à l'orgue de St-Séverin, Paris
French organist Christophe Mantoux is Professor of Organ at the Pôle Supérieur and the Conservatoire Régional de Paris where he teaches students from all over Europe, the United States, South America, South Korea, and Japan. Prior to his appointment in Paris, he was Professor of Organ at the Conservatoire National de Région of Strasbourg. He also holds the post of Titular Organist at the famous Church of Saint-Séverin in Paris where he has served since 1995.
The beginning of the BWV 548 Prelude, in the hand of J.S. Bach:
BWV 549 Preludium & fugue i c-moll - Florian Kaier
Florian Kaier (*2000) ved Erler-orgelet til Stadtpfarrkirche Mürzzuschlag. Innspilt for presentasjonen på prisvinnernes konsert av musikkskolekonkurransen "4th Brahms Music Winter Festival Mürzzuschlag 2016".
Giuliano Sommerhalder - trumpet Omar Tomasoni - trumpet Guglielmo Pellarin - french horn Gabriele Marchetti - trombone Gianluca Grosso - tuba
BWV 550 Preludium & fugue i G-dur - Matthias Havinga
In early sources the opening of the Prelude and fugue in G major, performed by Matthias Havinga for All of Bach, is described as a "praeludio in G-dur con pedal". There is nothing unusual about the use of pedals (the 'keys' of the organ operated by the feet) in an organ piece in Bach's day. But twelve bars into the piece you hear a long, lively pedal solo, which not only requires more than a second-rate village organist, but also more than a second-rate village organ. The range of the solo covers more than two octaves, which was definitely not the norm at the time!
BWV 552 Preludium & fugue i Ess-dur - Leo van Doeselaar
This organ in the Freiberger Dom is seen as Gottfried Silbermann's masterpiece. It was the first organ which he built entirely by himself, and it was to become famous." Organist Leo van Doeselaar talks about the Gottfried Silbermann organ (1711-1714) in the Freiberger Dom Sankt Marien in Freiberg, on which he played during recordings for All of Bach.
While Bach was putting together his definitive Clavier-Übung III, he may have had a brilliant idea. Rather then putting his tremendous 'Prelude and fugue in E-flat major', performed here by Leo van Doeselaar for All of Bach, in the middle, as planned, what if he were to separate them to form the opening of the volume and a surprising finish? In a volume that was essentially devoted to the Trinity, there could have been no clearer statement than this piece, with all its references to the number three. On paper, that is - as Bach and musicians well into the nineteenth century would have found it unusual or even unthinkable that his Clavier-Übung, including prelude and fugue, would ever be played consecutively in a concert. Incidentally, we do not know for certain whether the prelude and fugue were actually created together, even though the similarities are almost too marked to ignore.
BWV 562 Fantasia & fugue i c-moll - Ullrich Böhme
BACH ON THE LEGENDARY HILDEBRANDT ORGAN: THOMASORGANIST ULLRICH BÖHME
Bach on the legendary Hildebrandt Organ (1747) in Naumburg: Thomasorganist Ullrich Böhme plays Fantasy and Unfinished Fugue in C minor BWV 562. There is no doubt that the Hildebrandt Organ in Naumburg's St. Wenzel belongs to the most significant creations of late baroque organ building. It exceeds all Silbermann organs not only in number of stops but also in variety. The specification shows conservative elements with deep roots in German baroque organ building and also aspects matching the new sound sensibilities which developed in the 18 th century, with French characteristics in the background. Thus this unique work has come into being from the universality of Bach`s spirit, from the cosmic multiplicity of his work, and likewise it unifies traditional achievements and foreshadows future developments in a brilliant synthesis.
BWV 564 Toccata, adagio & fugue i C-dur - Maria-Magdalena Kaczor
Maria-Magdalena Kaczor performs J.S.Bach live at Notre-Dame de l'Assomption, Charbonnières-les-Bains (F), January 23, 2011, on the Bernard Hurvy organ (2000).
The work begins with an updated and extended form of the old prelude-type, manual passaggio followed by a pedal solo, and a motivic-contrapuntal section. Bach's extended passaggio which opens BWV 564 may have been inspired by Buttstett's preludes; both the rhetorical rests followed by returns to the tonic and the single pedal notes are part of the older tradition as well. The following pedal solo, however, is unique in organ literature: it is the longest known pedal introduction, reaching far beyond the scope of Bach's models (Buxtehude, Böhm, and others) or his own earlier works (e.g. the pedal solo in BWV 549). The full-voiced section that follows elaborates on motives first introduced in the pedal solo. Various scholars have noted how the construction of this first movement is reminiscent of that of a concerto, if the opening manual and pedal passages are taken as "solos" and the closing contrapuntal section as a "tutti".
The second movement is again in two sections, one marked Adagio and another marked Grave. The insertion of a middle slow movement in an organ work was unusual for Bach, although traces of this idea can be found in other works from the same period: for example, a surviving early version of Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 545, contains a slow Trio, which was removed from the final version, but found its way into one of the late organ trio sonatas, BWV 529. The Adagio is a melody made of short phrases, characteristic of early Bach, over what may be seen as a realized continuo part. The music has been compared to Giuseppe Torelli's Concerto in C major Op. 8 No. 1, but in Bach's oeuvre, this Adagio stands alone and has no parallels. The abundance of Neapolitan sixths and quasi-pizzicato pedal suggests Italian influence. The Adagio flows seamlessly into the short Grave section, which, through italiante durezze chromatic progressions, enlarged with several instances of diminished seventh chords suspended over the next chord, leads back to the tonic.
The Adagio, in the hand of J.P. Kellner. Modern manuscripts separate the right-hand melody, left-hand accompaniment, and pedal bass-line into three separate staves
The third movement is a four-voice fugue in 6/8. It includes a countersubject typical of permutation fugues, which, unusually, engages in dialogue with the subject. Several features of the fugue suggest that it represented a considerable advance for Bach, especially considering that there are middle entries as far as the mediant and the dominant of the dominant. Somewhat unusually for Bach, the fugue includes very few episodes, the longest being the coda of the piece, which is based on various style brisé figures.
BWV 565 Toccata & fugue i d-moll - Jürgen Wolf
It's possibly the most recognizable organ work of all time: Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565. Here, Bach's tour de force is being played by Jürgen Wolf on the church organ of Leipzig's Nikolaikirche. The performance took place at a commemorative concert held on October 9, 1999 - exactly ten years after the 'Monday Demonstration'. On October 9, 1989, some 70,000 citizens overcame their fear of the authoritarian regime to demonstrate for freedom and more democracy in Leipzig - the second largest city of former East Germany. The peaceful, large-scale demonstration is considered a key historical moment which, in combination with other events, led to the fall of the Wall a month later on November 9, 1989.
It is not known precisely when Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750) wrote the Toccata and Fugue in D minor. At times, it was even questioned whether it was written by Bach at all. Most researchers now assume, however, that the organ classic is the work of a young Bach, composed in Arnstadt between 1703 and 1707.
Jürgen Wolf is a German organist, conductor and composer. From 1993 to 2019 he was cantor of the St. Nicolas Church, Leipzig. Since 2019, Wolf has been active primarily as a guest conductor. During his studies, Jürgen Wolf was already intensively involved in historical performance practice, with a special focus on the interpretation of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.
BWV 566 Toccata & Fugue i E-dur - Bálint Karosi
Commended as "a most impressive musical interpreter," (Dr. Christoph Wolff, the Boston Musical Intelligencer) and for his virtuosity "[He] inspired awe with the work's marvelous scalar passages and fiery finish..." (The Diapason), organist Bálint Karosi earned a reputation for his expressive command of a wide range of repertoire that is guided by historical performance practice and a remarkably multi-faceted musicianship enriched by his experiences as a composer, conductor, church musician, and clarinetist.
All of Bach Project
In 2020 I have embarked on a series of fourteen organ recitals featuring the integral organ works by J. S. Bach. The program of the recitals was compiled by Dr. Christoph Wolff, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University for Izumi Hall in Osaka, Japan. I had the pleasure of playing one of the concerts in 2018 and now I am recording each concert on a different organ in the U.S. and in Europe.
En katedral og et kirkemusikalsk senter midt på Manhatten:
Saint Thomas Choir School, a boarding school for boys in grades three through eight in the heart of Manhattan, educates the treble choristers of the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys.