Toccata & Fuge in d

Concert Band

Toccata & Fuge in d
Toccata und Fuge in d-Moll

BWV 565

Genre:
Concert Piece, Classic
Grade Level:
Höchststufe
Performance time:
00:10:08
Publisher:
Rundel
Size:
DIN A4
Info:
Full Score + Parts
Order Number:
MVSR2536
Release Date:
2010

Info

In its intellectual complexity, its formal incomparability and musical variety, Bach’s oeuvre shines out across the centuries. All composers who have come after him must prepared to be measured against him, for he has elevated the language of music to a universal height whose suprapersonal validity is timeless and which remains “comprehensible” in the deepest meaning of the word beyond all further artistic and social developments. Bach’s spiritual works are an exegesis in the best sense of Biblical and divine statements, i.e. profound, belief-motivated musical sermons; in his purely instrumental works he achieves an extreme intellectual density which, because of its tonal and sensual intensity, still manages to penetrate the very soul of the listener.

His “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” is certainly the best-known work for organ in all of European music history. Yet, there always have been musicological arguments against the validity of Bach’s claim to authorship. The composer may have either copied or rearranged a work by his pupil Johann Peter Kellner (1702-1772).

These doubts are based on the simple harmonies, atypical for Bach’s writing, the frequent use of octave and fifth parallels and the rather paraphrased formal structuring of the work as a whole. Musicological researchers do, however, also admit that this could be an early work written in Arnstadt between 1703 and 1707 or else a free improvisation by Bach, committed to paper at a later date, such as was usually demanded at the time as proof of technical and musical skill on the organ. Following three call-like motifs, a diminished seventh chord is built up over a pedal point, thus supplying a musical core from which the entire work develops. As an arpeggio it forms the structural basis between rapid and extreme virtuoso parallel movements. Tense contrasts result from deep, dark sustained bass notes and extremely intense runs in the upper registers. An important formal element of the composition is an incomplete scale cascading downwards from the fifth to the leading tone and a two-voiced technique borrowed from violin literature, also known as bariolage technique (French: bariolage = variation), in which a further voice is added to held or repeated tones by changing the position and therefore the tone colour. In the fugue, too, Bach utilizes this technique, which is why here he avoids a narrow concentration of voices and organises this part more as a free fantasy whose movement is lightened by the insertion of intermezzi. In the concluding climax, the improvising power of the introductory toccata is taken up once more.

The “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” has been arranged in-numerable times for almost all combinations of instruments. In a congenial adaptation for large symphonic wind ensemble, Siegmund Goldhammer has used an impressively colourful instrumentation for this work and even enhanced the impression of energetic improvisation, thereby lending it the character of a great Romantic and inspired organ.

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