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Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565


Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565

Beginning of BWV 565 in Johannes Ringk's manuscript, which is the only extant 18th-century copy of the work.

The Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Walt Disney's Fantasia. Its attribution to Bach has been doubted in the late 20th century and early 21st century, but no edition of the Bach Werke Verzeichnis listed it among the doubtful works, nor does its entry on the website of the Bach Archiv Leipzig even mention such doubts.


  • History 1
  • Structure 2
    • Toccata 2.1
    • Fugue 2.2
    • Coda 2.3
  • Performance 3
  • Reception 4
    • Score editions 4.1
    • Performances and recordings 4.2
    • Piano arrangements 4.3
    • In Bach's biographies 4.4
    • In books on Bach's organ works 4.5
    • Arrangements for symphony orchestra 4.6
    • In film 4.7
    • Authenticity research and reconstructions 4.8
      • Attribution question 4.8.1
      • Anterior version hypothesis and reconstructions 4.8.2
    • Other media 4.9
  • References 5
  • Sources 6
    • Score 6.1
    • Recordings 6.2
    • Writings 6.3
  • External links 7


Title page of Ringk's manuscript

The only extant near-contemporary source for BWV 565 is an undated copy by Johannes Ringk.[1][2] A broad estimate is that the manuscript was written somewhere in the period from ten years before Bach's death in 1750 to ten years after it.[3] Ringk produced his first copy of a Bach score in 1730 when he was 12.[1] The evolution of Ringk's handwriting lets assume that his copy of BWV 565 was written soon after his first copy of a Bach composition, which would narrow the date of his BWV 565 manuscript to between 1730 and 1735, when Ringk was around 15.[1] At the time Ringk was a student of former Bach-student[4] Johann Peter Kellner at Gräfenroda, and probably faithfully copied what his teacher put before him.[1] There are some errors in the score such as note values not adding up to fill a measure correctly: such defects show a carelessness deemed typical for Kellner, who left over 60 copies of works by Bach.[1][5]

The title page of Ringk's manuscript writes the title of the work in Italian as Toccata con Fuga, names Johann Sebastian Bach as the composer of the piece, and indicates its tonality as "ex. d. #.", which is usually seen as the key signature being D minor. However, in Ringk's manuscript the staves have no accidental at the key (which would be the usual way to write down a piece in D minor). In this sense, in Ringk's manuscript, the piece is written down in D Dorian mode. Another piece listed as Bach's was also known as Toccata and Fugue in D minor, and was equally entitled to the "Dorian" qualification. It was that piece, BWV 538, that received the "Dorian" nickname, that qualifier being effectively used to distinguish it from BWV 565. Most score editions of BWV 565 use the D minor key signature, unlike Ringk's manuscript.[3][6]

Ringk's manuscript does not use a separate stave for the pedal part, which was common in the 18th century (notes to be played on the pedal were indicated by "p." being written at the start of the sequence). Printed editions of the BWV 565 organ score invariably write the pedal line on a separate stave. In Ringk's manuscript the upper stave is written down using the soprano clef (as was common in the time when the manuscript originated), where printed editions use the treble clef.[3][6]

Beginning, Ringk's "Dorian" notation – layout like Ringk's manuscript apart from position of fermatas and the clef for the upper stave
"D Dorian" mode notation used by Ringk for BWV 565

All other extant manuscript copies of the score date from at least several decades later: some of these, written in the 19th century, are related with each other in that they have similar solutions to the defects in the Ringk manuscript. Whether these derive from an earlier manuscript independent from Ringk's (possibly in the C. P. E. Bach/Johann Friedrich Agricola/Johann Kirnberger circle) is debated by scholars. These near-identical 19th-century copies, the version Felix Mendelssohn knew, use the treble clef and a separate stave for the pedal. In general, the later copies show a less excessive use of fermatas in the opening measures and are more correct in making the note values fit the measures, but that may as well be from polishing a defective source as from deriving from a cleaner earlier source. In the later copies the work is named for instance "Adagio" and "Fuga" (for the respective parts of the work), or "Toccata" for the work as a whole.[1][7]

Beginning, D minor notation, with the pedal part on a separate stave (also, arpeggio in second half of second measure converted to modern notation)
D minor: usual notation with a at the key

The name "Toccata" is most probably a later addition, similar to the title of

  • Free-content sheet music, audio and video of BWV 565
  • Sheet music and recordings (original, arrangements) of BWV 565 at


  • Free recording as a video of BWV 565 played by Nariné Simonian on the Aloys Moser organ in the Saint-Pierre des Liens Church, Bulle,GRUYERE, Switzerland.
  • Free download of BWV 565 recorded by James Kibbie on the 1724–30 Trost organ in the Stadtkirche, Waltershausen, Germany
  • Free download of BWV 565 recorded by Walcker organ in Riga Cathedral, Latvia.
  • 4K Ultra HD video of the Toccata and Fugue BWV 565, performed on a Flentrop Organ by organist Rodney Gehrke for the Early Music ensemble Voices of Music


Sheet music

External links

  • Albrecht, Timothy E. (1980). "Musical Rhetoric in J.S. Bach's Organ Toccata BWV 565" pp. 84–94 in Organ Yearbook Vol. 11
  • Altschuler, Eric Lewin (Winter 2005). "Were Bach's Toccata and Fugue BWV565 and the Ciacconia from BWV1004 Lute Pieces?", pp. 77–86 in The Musical Times, Vol. 146, No. 1893
  • Argent, Mark (Autumn 2000). "Decoding Bach 3. Stringing Along", pp. 16–20+22–23 in The Musical Times, Vol. 141, No. 1872
  • Billeter, Bernhard (1997). "Bachs Toccata und Fuge d-moll für Orgel BWV 565 - ein Cembalowerk?" pp. 77–80 in Die Musikforschung Vol. 50 No. 1, January–March 1997; republished pp. 159–164 in Billeter, Bernhard (2004). Musiktheorie und musikalische Praxis: gesammelte Aufsätze edited by Dominik Sackmann. Zürich: Peter Lang. ISBN 978-3-03910-375-1
  • Blume, Friedrich (January 1968). "J. S. Bach's Youth", pp. 1–30 in The Musical Quarterly Vol. XIV.
  • Bullivant, Roger (1971). Fugue. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 978-0-09-108440-0
  • Butt, John (1997). .The Cambridge companion to Bach Cambridge University Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0-521-58780-8.
  • Claus, Rolf-Dietrich (1998). .Zur Echtheit von Toccata und Fuge d-moll BWV 565 Cologne: Dohr, 2nd ed. ISBN 978-3-925366-55-0. (review by Yo Tomita)
  • Dörffel, Alfred (1884). .Geschichte der Gewandhausconcerte zu Leipzig vom 25. November 1781 bis 25. November 1881: Im Auftrage der Concert-Direction verfasst Leipzig.
  • Eidam, Klaus (2001). The True Life of Johann Sebastian Bach. New York:  
  • Emans, Reinmar (2004). "Vom überstrapazierten Autor: Biographische Konstruktionen bei Echtheitskritik" pp. 17–29 in .Musik und Biographie: Festschrift für Rainer Cadenbach edited by Cordula Heymann-Wentzel and Johannes Laas. Königshausen & Neumann. ISBN 978-3-8260-2804-5
  • Emans, Reinmar (2009). "Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Textkritik bei Incerta" pp. 103–111 in Was ist Textkritik?: Zur Geschichte und Relevanz eines Zentralbegriffs der Editionswissenschaft edited by Gertraud Mitterauer, Ulrich Müller, Margarete Springeth and Verena Vitzthum. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-484-97078-6
  • Emery, Walter (July 1966). "Some Speculations on the Development of Bach's Organ Style", pp. 596–603 in The Musical Times, Vol. 107, No. 1481.
  • Fox-Lefriche, Bruce (2004). The Greatest Violin Sonata That J.S. Bach Never Wrote. Strings xix/3:122, October 2004, 43–55.
  • Glaus, Daniel (2013). "Albert Schweitzer als Organist", pp. 291–304 in Albert Schweitzer: Facetten einer Jahrhundertgestalt, edited by Hubert Steinke, Angela Berlis, Andreas Wagner and Fritz von Gunten. Haupt Verlag AG. ISBN 978-3-258-07779-6
  • Novello & Co.
  • Gwinner, Volker (1968). "Bachs d-moll-Tokkata als Credo-Vertonung" in Musik und Kirche Vol. 38 pp. 240–242.
  • Humphreys, David (1982). The D Minor Toccata BWV 565. Early Music Vol. 10, No. 2.
  • Jones, Richard Douglas (2007). .The Creative Development of Johann Sebastian Bach: Music to Delight the Spirit. Volume 1: 1695–1717 Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-816440-8
  • C. F. Peters.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke. Kassel: Bärenreiter.
  • Kranenburg, Peter van (2006). "Composer attribution by quantifying compositional strategies" pp. 375–376 in ISMIR 2006: 7th International Conference on Music Information Retrieval – Proceedings. Canada: University of Victoria. ISBN 1-55058-349-2
  • Kranenburg, Peter van (2007). "Assessing Disputed Attributions for Organ Fugues in the J. S. Bach (BWV) Catalogue" Ch. 7 pp. 120–137 in Tonal Theory for the Digital Age (Computing in Musicology Vol. 15) edited by Walter B. Hewlett, Eleanor Selfridge-Field, Edmund Correia. University of Michigan. ISBN 978-0-936943-17-6 (replaced by Kranenburg 2008)
  • Kranenburg, Peter van (September 2008). "On Measuring Musical Style - The Case of Some Disputed Organ Fugues in the J. S. Bach (BWV) Catalogue". Utrecht University.
  • Kranenburg, Peter van (4 October 2010). "On Measuring Musical Style - The Case of Some Disputed Organ Fugues in the J. S. Bach (BWV) Catalogue" Ch. 5 pp. 71–89 in .A Computational Approach to Content-Based Retrieval of Folk-Song Melodies Utrecht University. ISBN 978-90-393-5393-6
  • Newman, Anthony (1995). Bach and the Baroque: European Source Materials from the Baroque and Early Classical Periods with Special Emphasis on the Music of J.S. Bach. Pendragon Press. ISBN 978-0-945193-64-7
  • Parry, Hubert (1909). .Johann Sebastian Bach: The Story of the Development of a Great Personality New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons; London: The Knickerbocker Press.
  • Pirro, André (1895). .L'orgue de Jean-Sébastien Bach Paris: Fischbacher.
  • Pirro, André (1902). .Johann Sebastian Bach: The Organist and his Works for the Organ New York: G. Schirmer
  • Schulenberg, David (2006). , second edition.The Keyboard Music of J.S. Bach Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-97400-4
  • Schweitzer, Albert (1905). .J. S. Bach, le musicien-poète Preface by Charles Marie Widor. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel.
  • Schweitzer, Albert (1908). .J. S. Bach Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel.
  • Schweitzer, Albert (1935). J. S. Bach, Vol. 1 London: A. & C. Black.
  • with an introduction by Harald Schützeichel. Georg Olms Verlag. ISBN 978-3-487-41697-7
  • Philipp Spitta (1873). Johann Sebastian Bach, Erster Band (Book I–IV). Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel.
  • Philipp Spitta (1899). Johann Sebastian Bach: His Work and Influence on the Music of Germany 1685–1750, translated by Clara Bell and J. A. Fuller Maitland, Vol. I (Book I–III). London: Novello & Co.
  • Stauffer, George Boyer (1978). The Free Organ Preludes of Johann Sebastian Bach (thesis). Columbia University.
  • Stauffer, George Boyer (1980). The Organ Preludes of Johann Sebastian Bach. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press. ISBN 978-0-8357-1117-3
  • Stauffer, George Boyer; May, Ernest (1986). J. S. Bach as Organist: His Instruments, Music and Performance Practices edited by George Stauffer and May. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-33181-6
  • Stinson, Russell (2006). .The Reception of Bach's Organ Works from Mendelssohn to Brahms Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-534686-2 (2010 edition ISBN 978-0-19-974703-0)
  • Stinson, Russell (2012). .J. S. Bach at His Royal Instrument: Essays on His Organ Works USA: Oxford University Press ISBN 978-0-19-991723-5
  • Williams, Peter F. (1980). The Organ Music of J. S. Bach, Volume 1: Preludes, Toccatas, Fantasias, Fugues, Sonatas, Concertos and Miscellaneous Pieces (BWV 525–598, 802–805 etc). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-21723-1.
  • Williams, Peter F. (July 1981). "BWV 565: a toccata in D minor for organ by J. S. Bach?" pp. 330–337 in Early Music Vol. 9, No. 3.
  • Williams, Peter F. (2003). .The Organ Music of J. S. Bach Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-81416-2
  • Wolff, Christoph (2000). .Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-393-04825-X
  • Bach, Lübeck und die norddeutsche Musiktradition edited by Wolfgang Sandberger. Kassel: Bärenreiter. ISBN 978-3-7618-1585-4
  • Perspectives on Organ Playing and Musical Interpretation: Pedagogical, Historical, and Instrumental Studies: A Festschrift for Heinrich Fleischer at 90 edited by Ames Anderson, Bruce Backer, David Backus and Charles Luedtke. New Ulm: Martin Luther College. ISBN 978-1-890600-03-7
  • Yearsley, David (2012). Bach's Feet: The Organ Pedals in European Culture. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-19901-8


Last column sortable by performance time; Background-color: green: audio file available
Performed by Date Place Issued by Series Volume BWV 565
between 1902 and 1915 New York The Aeolian Company Piano roll Toccata and fugue in D minor arranged for pianoforte solo by C. Tausig tempo 70; 28,5 cm
Bloomfield Zeisler, Fannie 1912 Welte-Mignon Piano roll Toccata & Fugue in D minor (Tausig transcription) (9:19)
Novello, Marie 1926 London Edison Bell Velvet Face No. 676: Organ Toccata & Fugue: Pianoforte Solo (Bach, Tausig) Two 78 rpm disc sides: Pt. 1, Pt. 2
Cunningham, C. D. 1926 Kingsway Hall, London His Master's Voice No. C 1291: Toccata and fugue in D minor 78 rpm disc
Stokowski, Leopold
Philadelphia Orchestra
April 6, 1927 Academy of Music, Philadelphia Victor Red Seal "Electric" recording Toccata and Fugue in D minor (Stokowski transcription) Two 78 rpm disc sides (8:53)
Schweitzer, Albert 1935 All Hallows-by-the-Tower, London Columbia Albert Schweitzer plays Bach No. 6 (9:04)
Stokowski, Leopold
Philadelphia Orchestra
1940 Academy of Music, Philadelphia Disney Walt Disney's Fantasia – Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra: Remastered Original Soundtrack Edition (1990) CD 1 (of 2) Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 (9:22)
Walcha, Helmut 24 August 1947 Church of St. Jacob, Lüˆbeck Deutsche Grammophon Archiv Produktion; Research period IX: Works by Johann Sebastian Bach; Series F: Organ works Prelude and fugue, E minor, BWV 548; Prelude and fugue, A minor, BWV 551; Prelude and fugue, C major, BWV 547; Toccata and fugue, D minor, BWV 565 No. 4 (9:15)
Schweitzer, Albert 1951 Gunsbach, Alsace Columbia J. S. Bach: Organ Music Vol. IV No. 3 (10:31)
Biggs, E. Power 1955 Europe (14 different organs) Columbia Bach: Toccata in D minor (A Hi-Fi Adventure) e.g. London, Royal Festival Hall Side 2 No. 6
Biggs, E. Power 1960 Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard Columbia Bach: Organ Favorites Bach: Great Organ Favorites (Columbia 42644, re-issued as CD by CBS in 2011, with liner notes by Hans-Joachim Schulze) Toccata (2:28), Fugue (5:54)
Walcha, Helmut 1963 Grote Sint Laurenskerk, Alkmaar Deutsche Grammophon Classic Mania (issued 1991) CD 2, No. 4 (2:37, Toccata only – Fugue of that 1963 recording had been 6:52)
Alain, Marie-Claire 1959–1968 Sankta Maria kyrka, Helsingborg Erato J. S. Bach - L'Œuvre Pour Orgue - Intégrale en 24 disques Vol. 3: Toccatas & Fugues en ré mineur bwv 565 – en fa majeur bwv 540 / Préludes & Fugues en do majeur bwv 545 – en mi majeur bwv 533 – Fugue en sol mineur bwv 578 Toccata & Fugue en ré mineur bwv 565 (8:42)
Richter, Karl 1964 Jaegersborg Church, Copenhagen Deutsche Grammophon Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccata & Fuge / Famous Organ Works Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 (8:56)
Alain, Marie-Claire 1982 Collégiale de Saint-Donat, Drôme Erato Toccata & Fugue / Passacaglia / Fugue / Concerto / Fantaisie & Fugue Toccata & Fugue en ré mineur D minor/D Moll BWV 565 (8:15)
Preston, Simon 1988 Kreuzbergkirche, Bonn Deutsche Grammophon Toccata & Fugue BVW 565 - Preludes & Fugues BVW 532 & 552 - Fantasia BWV 572 - Pastorale BVW 590 Toccata: Adagio (2:31)
Fugue (5:54)
Fagius, Hans 1988 Fredrik Church, Karlskrona Brilliant Classics Bach Edition CD 151 – Organ Works: Toccata & Fuga BWV 565/Concerto BWV 594/Praeludium & Fuga BWV 548/"Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr" BWV 711–715/717 (issued c.2000) Nos. 1–2 (8:54)
Kibbie, James 2007–2009 Stadtkirche, Waltershausen Block M Records (University of Michigan) Bach Organ Works BWV 565: Toccata con Fuga in d / Toccata and Fugue in D Minor AAC – MP3 (9:16)


Background color: green: on-line version of score available; red: introduction and/or commentary available
Version provided by Date Place Publisher Series Volume BWV 565
Ringk, Johannes c.1740–1760 Germany Berlin State Library (facsimile) D-B Mus. ms. Bach P 595 Fascicle 8 (pp. 57–64) pedaliter ex d # di J. S. BachToccata Con Fuga
Marx, Adolph Bernhard 1833 Leipzig Breitkopf & Härtel Johann Sebastian Bach's noch wenig bekannte Orgelcompositionen: auch am Pianoforte von einem oder zwei Spielern ausführbar Vol. 3 (of 3) No. 9 Toccata (pp. 12–19)
Griepenkerl, Friedrich Konrad
Roitzsch, Ferdinand
1846 Leipzig C. F. Peters Johann Sebastian Bach's Compositionen für die Orgel Vol. IV (plate 243) No. 4 (p. 24 ff.)
Tausig, Carl c.1860s Berlin Schlesinger Toccata und Fuge (D moll) für die Orgel (Pedal und Manual) von Johann Sebastian Bach für das Clavier zum Conzertvortrag frei bearbeitet Toccata (pp. 2-6) – Fuge (pp. 7–15)
Rust, Wilhelm 1867 Leipzig Breitkopf & Härtel Bach-Gesellschaft-Ausgabe Orgelwerke, Band 1Band XV: Toccata II (pp. 267–275)
Bridge, John Frederick
Higgs, James
1886 London Novello & Co The Organ Works of John Sebastian Bach Book VI: Toccata, Preludes, and Fugues No. 1 (pp. 2–9)
Busoni, Ferruccio 1899 Leipzig Breitkopf & Härtel Toccata in D moll (pp. 2–17)
Reger, Max c.1911 London Augener Selection of Joh. Seb. Bach's Organ Works transcribed for Pianoforte Duet No. 2: Toccata & Fugue in D minor Toccata und Fuge (pp. 2–21)
Widor, Charles-Marie
Schweitzer, Albert
1912 New-York G. Schirmer Johann Sebastian Bach. Complete Organ Works: a critico-practical edition in eight volumes provided with a preface containing general observations on the manner of performing the preludes and fugues and suggestions for the interpretation of the compositions contained in each volume Volume II: Preludes and fugues of the first master period No. 15
Best, William Thomas
Hull, Arthur Eaglefield
1914 London Augener Johann Sebastian Bach's Organ Works Volume II: Preludes, Fugues, Fantasia and Toccatas p. 271 ff.
Friedman, Ignaz 1944 Melbourne Allans Publishing Toccata and Fugue (D minor)
Kilian, Dietrich 1964 Kassel Bärenreiter New Bach Edition, Series IV: Organ Works Organ Works 6: Preludes, Toccatas, Fantasias and Fugues II – Early Versions and Variants of I and II Toccata con Fuga in d BWV 565
Mills, Fred
Canadian Brass
1990s USA Hal Leonard Brass Ensemble Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
Zehnder, Jean-Claude 2011 Leipzig Breitkopf & Härtel Complete Organ Works - Breitkopf Urtext Vol. 4: Toccatas and Fugues / Individual Works - with CD-ROM No. 3 Toccata et Fuga in d BWV 565 (pp. 56–65)



  1. ^ a b c d e f Zehnder 2011 (score), Commentary pp. 4–5
  2. ^ a b Rolf-Dietrich Claus, editor (2000). Toccata und Fuge d-Moll BWV 565: Faksimile der ältesten überlieferten Abschrift von Johannes Ringk. Cologne: Dohr. ISBN 978-3-925366-78-9
  3. ^ a b c d e Ringk (score)
  4. ^ a b c d Billeter 1997, pp. 77–80 (pp. 159–164 in Billeter 2004)
  5. ^ Kellner's copies of works in the BWV catalogue at .de.bach-digitalwww
  6. ^ a b c Kilian 1964 (score), p. VI
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Williams 2003, p. 155 ff.
  8. ^ Williams 1981, p. 331
  9. ^ Krummacher, Friedhelm. "Bach's Free Organ Works and the 'stylus Phantasticus'" pp. 157–171 in Stauffer/May 1986
  10. ^ a b Spitta 1873, Vol. I pp. 402–403
  11. ^ a b c d e Spitta 1899, Vol. I pp. 403–404
  12. ^ a b Newman 1995, 181.
  13. ^ Yearsley 2012, p. 93
  14. ^ Alain 1982 (recording)
  15. ^ a b Schweitzer 1951 (recording)
  16. ^ Biggs 1960 (recording)
  17. ^ a b Walcha 1963 (recording)
  18. ^ a b c d Grace 1922, pp. 60–65
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Zehnder 2011 (score), Introduction p. 20
  20. ^ Stinson 2006, pp. 18–19
  21. ^ Joseph Moog - Scarlatti Illuminated at .comonyxclassics
  22. ^ Stephen A. Crist. "The early works and the heritage of the seventeenth century" in Butt 1997, p. 76
  23. ^ a b c d e Williams 1981
  24. ^ a b c d Liner notes of Fagius 1988 (recording)
  25. ^ a b Schweitzer 1935, Vol. I p. 269.
  26. ^ a b c Pirro 1902, p. 35
  27. ^ Theodore Gracyk (2013). , pp. 39–40.On Music Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-50656-7
  28. ^ Stauffer 1978
  29. ^ a b Marshall, Robert Lewis (2003). "Johann Sebastian Bach" p. 61 ff. in Eighteenth-Century Keyboard Music, edited by Robert Lewis Marshall. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-96642-9
  30. ^ a b c Spitta 1899, Vol. I pp. 434–435
  31. ^ a b Argent 2000
  32. ^ a b c Keller 1948, p. 64 ff.
  33. ^ a b c Kranenburg 2010, p. 88
  34. ^ Stinson 2006, p. 120
  35. ^ a b Stokowski 1927 (recording)
  36. ^ a b Marx 1833 (score)
  37. ^ Stinson 2006, pp. 31–32
  38. ^ Griepenkerl and Roitzsch 1846 (score)
  39. ^ Rust 1867 (score)
  40. ^ Bridge 1886 (score)
  41. ^ Schweitzer 1995
  42. ^ Widor and Schweitzer 1912 (score)
  43. ^ Best 1914 (score)
  44. ^ Kilian 1964 (scores)
  45. ^ Kilian 1979
  46. ^ Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 (Bach, Johann Sebastian) at IMSLP website
  47. ^ Stinson 2006, pp. 55–60
  48. ^ Stinson 2006, p. 118
  49. ^ Cunningham 1926 (recording)
  50. ^ Quoted in Glaus 2013, pp. 297–298
  51. ^ Schweitzer 1935 (recording)
  52. ^ a b Walcha 1947 (recording)
  53. ^ Walcha 1964
  54. ^ Walcha 1987
  55. ^ Alain (recordings)
  56. ^ Biggs 1955 (recording)
  57. ^ Biggs 1960 (recording), liner notes
  58. ^ Jean Guillou - Recordings at .com.bach-cantataswww
  59. ^ Lionel Rogg - Recordings at .com.bach-cantataswww
  60. ^ Wolfgang Rübsam - Recordings at .com.bach-cantataswww
  61. ^ Richter 1964
  62. ^ Organ Works BWV 525-771: Recorded Sets of Bach's Complete (or near complete) Organ Works at .com.bach-cantataswww
  63. ^ Kibbie (recording)
  64. ^ "Statistik der Concerte im Saale des Gewandhauses zu Leipzig", p. 3 (in Dörffel 1884)
  65. ^ Tausig (score)
  66. ^ Bach-Brassin: Piano Transcriptions of Bach's Works by Louis Brassin at .com.bach-cantataswww
  67. ^ Louis Brassin. Toccata (D moll) für Orgel von Joh. Seb. Bach: Für Pianoforte zum Concertvortrag bearbeitet. Hamburg: D. Rahter
  68. ^ Busoni 1899 (score)
  69. ^ Reger (score)
  70. ^ The Aeolian Company (recording)
  71. ^ Bloomfield Zeisler 1912 (recording)
  72. ^ Novello 1926 (recording)
  73. ^ Piers Lane, Liner notes to Bach Piano Transcriptions – 3: Ignaz Friedman / Percy Granger / William Mudoch. Hyperion, 2003, p. 5.
  74. ^ Bach-Grainger: Piano Transcriptions of Bach's Works by Percy Grainger Discography at .com.bach-cantataswww
  75. ^ Bach-Friedman: Piano Transcriptions of Bach's Works by Ignaz Friedman Discography at .com.bach-cantataswww
  76. ^ Friedman 1944 (score)
  77. ^ Bach-Tausig: Piano Transcriptions of Bach's Works by Carl Tausig – Discography at .com.bach-cantataswww
  78. ^ Bach-Busoni: Piano Transcriptions of Bach's Works & Works inspired by Bach, by Ferruccio Busoni – Recordings, Part 2 ff. at .com.bach-cantataswww
  79. ^ Johann Nikolaus Forkel (1802), translated by Charles Sanford Terry (1920). Johann Sebastian Bach: His Life, Art, and Work New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe; London: Constable. p. 134
  80. ^ C. L. Hilgenfeldt (1850). .Johann Sebastian Bach's Leben, Wirken und Werke: ein Beitrag zur Kunstgeschichte des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts Leipzig: Friedrich Hofmeister. p. 130–131
  81. ^ Karl Hermann Bitter (1865). Johann Sebastian Bach. Berlin: Schneider. Vol. 2, Anh. II, p. CXII
  82. ^ Spitta 1873, Vol. I pp. 429–431
  83. ^ Reginald Lane Poole (1882). .Sebastian Bach London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington. p. 40
  84. ^ Schweitzer 1905, pp. 174–183
  85. ^ a b André Pirro (1906). J.-S. Bach. Paris: Félix Alcan. (in third edition:) p. 216; pp. 219–220
  86. ^ Schweitzer 1908, p. 248
  87. ^ Parry 1909, pp. 64–65 and p. 512
  88. ^ a b Alberto Basso (1979). Frau Musika: La vita e le opere di J. S. Bach, Volume 1 (of 2): .Le origini familiari, l'ambiente luterano, gli anni giovanili, Weimar e Köthen (1685–1723) Turin, EDT. ISBN 88-7063-011-0 p. 491 and p. 493 ff.
  89. ^ a b c Eidam 2001, chapter IV
  90. ^ a b Wolff 2000, p. 72
  91. ^ Wolff 2000 p. 169
  92. ^ Pirro 1895, p. 66
  93. ^ Emans 2004, p. 26
  94. ^ a b c Williams 1980, pp. 214–221
  95. ^ Gwinner 1968
  96. ^ Stauffer, George B. "Bach's Organ Registration Reconsidered" pp. 193–211 in Stauffer/May 1986
  97. ^ Stinson 2012, p. 99 ff.
  98. ^ Bach, Johann Sebastian / TOCCATA & FUGUE, D MINOR, BWV 565 (ARR. Skrowaczewski) at .org.nyphilarchives
  99. ^ Bach-Leonardi: Orchestral Arrangements/Transcriptions of Bach's Works by Leonidas Leonardi at .com.bach-cantataswww
  100. ^ Rollin Smith. , p. 161.Stokowski and the Organ Pendragon Press, 2004 ISBN 978-1-57647-103-6
  101. ^ BACH, J. S. (arr. Melichar) at
  102. ^ Ormandy Conducts Bach Orchestral Transcriptions - PASC211 at .com.pristineclassicalwww
  103. ^ Bach-Sevitzky: Arrangements/Transcriptions of Bach's Works by Fabien Sevitzky at .com.bach-cantataswww
  104. ^ J. S. Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor orchestrated by René Leibowitz at .com.schott-francewww
  105. ^ Bach-Cailliet: Arrangements/Transcriptions of Bach's Works by Lucien Cailliet at .com.bach-cantataswww
  106. ^ a b David P. Neumeyer (2015). , p. 186.Meaning and Interpretation of Music in Cinema Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-01651-5
  107. ^ Lerner, Neil (2010). Music in the Horror Film: Listening to Fear. 
  108. ^ a b Huckvale, David (2010). Touchstones of Gothic Horror: A Film Genealogy of Eleven Motifs and Images. 
  109. ^ Clark Farmer (2008). "'Every Beautiful Sound Also Creates an Equally Beautiful Picture': Color Music and Walt Disney's Fantasia" p. 183 ff. in Lowering the Boom: Critical Studies in Film Sound edited by Jay Beck and Tony Grajeda. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-07532-2 pp. 192–193
  110. ^ Suzanne van Kempen (2009). , p. 335.Bach - musikpädagogisch betrachtet Peter Lang. ISBN 978-3-631-59325-7
  111. ^ a b Davies, Antony (1961). "New light on Bach" in Musical Opinion Vol. 84, pp. 755–759
  112. ^ a b c Bullivant 1971, p. 14 and elsewhere
  113. ^ a b Emans 2009, p. 103 ff.
  114. ^ a b Emans 2009, p. 109
  115. ^ Humphreys 1982, pp. 216–217
  116. ^ Stephan Emele (2000). 4.6 "BWV 565 - ein Werk von Kellner?" in Ein Beispiel der mitteldeutschen Orgelkunst des 18. Jahrhunderts: Johann Peter Kellner (thesis). Jena. OCLC 553465573
  117. ^ a b c Kranenburg 2007/2008
  118. ^ a b Kranenburg 2006
  119. ^ Dürr, Alfred; Kobayashi, Yoshitake; Beißwenger, Kirsten (1998). Bach Werke Verzeichnis (version 2a). Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel. ISBN 3-7651-0249-0 p. 324
  120. ^ Toccata in d BWV 565 at .de.bach-digitalwww
  121. ^ Emery 1966
  122. ^ Blume 1968
  123. ^ Claus 1998
  124. ^ Butt 1997, p. 43 and elsewhere.
  125. ^ Wolf 2002
  126. ^ Schulenberg 2006, p. 434, p. 458 and p. 516
  127. ^ Jones 2007 p. 160
  128. ^ Williams 1981, p. 336
  129. ^ Peter Wollny, "Harpsichord Concertos," booklet notes for Andreas Staier's 2015 recording of the concertos, Harmonia mundi HMC 902181.82
  130. ^ Williams 1981, p. 337
  131. ^ Rockwell, John (September 13, 1984). "Concert: Academy of Ancient Music".  
  132. ^ Johann Sebastian Bach / Andrew Manze, Richard Egarr, Jaap ter Linden – Four Violin Sonatas; Toccata and Fugue, BWV 565. BBC MM89, 1999.
  133. ^ Fox-Lefriche 2004
  134. ^ Altschuler 2005
  135. ^ Zu einer Toccata von Bach at .de.deutschelyrikwww
  136. ^ "Sky | Awards".  
  137. ^ "Allmusic – Vanessa-Mae: Charts & Awards – Billboard Singles". 
  138. ^ "Zig Zag Territoires: ZZT 040802". 
  139. ^ "RM Williams Publishing – Bach/Nagy: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (in F Minor) for solo horn". 
  140. ^ Canadian Brass – ABOUT US – REVIEWS Archived February 16, 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  141. ^ Mills (score)


Recordings of BWV 565 that have appeared on popular music charts include Sky's 1981 rock-inspired recording (#83 on Billboard Hot 100)[136] and Vanessa-Mae's 1996 violin recording (#24 on the Billboard charts).[137] In 1993, Salvatore Sciarrino made an arrangement for solo flute, recorded by Mario Caroli.[138] A version for solo horn was made by Zsolt Nagy[139] and has been performed by Frank Lloyd. In the mid-1990s Fred Mills, then trumpet player for Canadian Brass, created an adaptation for brass quintet that became a worldwide standard for brass ensembles.[140][141]

In 1935 Herman Hesse wrote a poem about the piece, "Zu einer Toccata von Bach" (On a toccata by Bach), which contributed to its fame.[19][135]

Other media

In 1997 Bernhard Billeter proposed a harpsichord toccata original,[4] deemed unlikely by Williams.[7] Billeter's argument makes however authorship by Bach more likely: Bach's harpsichord toccatas (most of them early works) have similar simplisms and quirks as BWV 565.[4] Bach's early keyboard works, especially the free ones like Preludes and Toccatas, can't always be clearly distinguished in organ pieces and harpsichord pieces: Spitta had already remarked a similarity between a passage in BWV 565 and one in the harpsichord Prelude BWV 921, Robert Marshall compares respectively the continuation patterns and sequences of the harpsichord Toccata BWV 911, and the Fugue theme of the harpsichord Toccata BWV 914, with the same of BWV 565.[29][30]

Thus a new format of adaptations saw the light: the reconstruction. Reconstructions of this kind have been applied to several other works by Bach, with variable success.[129] A reconstruction for violin was presented by Jaap Schröder[130] and Simon Standage.[131] The violinist Andrew Manze produced his own reconstruction, also in A minor, which he has performed and recorded.[132] In 2000 Mark Argent proposed a scordatura five-stringed cello instead.[31] Williams endorsed violoncello piccolo or five-stringed cello as and alternative possibility in 2003.[7] A new violin version was created by scholar Bruce Fox-Lefriche in 2004.[133] In 2005 Eric Lewin Altschuler wrote that if the first version of BWV 565 was written for a stringed instrument the most likely candidate would have been a lute.[134]

The other hypothesis elaborated by Williams suggests that BWV 565 may have been a transcription of a lost solo violin piece. Parallel octaves and the preponderance of thirds and sixths may be explained by a transcriber's attempt to fill in harmony which, if preserved as is, would be inadequately thin on a pipe organ. This is corroborated by the fact that the subject of the fugue, and certain passages (such as bars 12–15), are evidently inspired by string music. Bach is known to have transcribed solo violin works for organ at least twice: the first movement of the BWV 539.

Quadruple stops, not uncommon for 18th century solo violin music, could have been used in passages such as this, taken from the ending.
Transposed to A minor and adapted for the violin, the opening offers an opportunity to drop down through all four strings of the instrument.[128]

Anterior version hypothesis and reconstructions

The authorship debate continued in the 21st century: Wolff called it a pseudo-problem.[125] Williams suggested that the piece may have been created by another composer who must have been born in the beginning of the 18th century, since details of style (such as triadic harmony, spread chords, and the use of solo pedal) may indicate post–1730, or even post–1750 idioms.[7] Statistical analysis conducted by Peter van Kranenburg in the second half of the first decade of the 21st century confirmed the Fugue was atypical for Bach,[118] but failed to find a composer more likely to have composed it than Bach.[33] David Schulenberg indicates the attribution of BWV 565 to Bach as doubtful.[126] Richard Douglas Jones takes no position with regard to the composition's authenticity.[127] In 2009 Reinmar Emans wrote that Claus and Wolff had diametrically opposed views on the reliability of Ringk as a copyist inspired by their respective desired outcome of the authenticity debate: Emans thinks this sort of speculation unhelpful.[114]

... the fact remains that the Toccata is strikingly unorganistic and modern to have been written by Bach around 1705, even if the form is that of North German toccata. There are, however, few organ pieces with so much spirit and drive, and why should not a genius like Bach, in youthful high spirits, have produced this unique work, which is in some respects half a century before its time and which could achieve a place as one of the most beloved compositions in all of music history?

By the end of the 20th century Hans Fagius wrote:[24]

In 1995 Rolf-Dietrich Claus decided against authenticity of BWV 565 mainly based on the stylistic characteristics of the piece.[113] He names another problem: in its first measure the composition contains a C, a note organs in Bach's time rarely had, and which Bach used only very exceptionally in his organ compositions.[4] In his book on BWV 565, which he expanded in 1998 to counter some of the criticisms it received, Claus also dismisses the prior version options suggested by Williams (toccata being an unknown genre for violin solo compositions of the time).[123] Several essays in John Butt's Cambridge Companion on Bach treated the attribution problems of BWV 565.[124] Other biographers and scholars left these attribution and prior version issues unmentioned,[89] or explained the atypical characteristics of the composition by indicating it was a very early composition by Bach, probably written during his stay in Arnstadt (1703–1706).[90]

[23] These doubts about the authorship of BWV 565 were elaborated by Peter Williams in a 1981 article. Hypotheses proposed by Williams in that article included that BWV 565 may have been composed after 1750 and may have been based on an earlier composition for another instrument, supposedly violin. Williams added more stylistic issues to the ones already mentioned by Bullivant, among others the

  • Conclusion of the piece on a minor plagal cadence
  • A pedal statement of the subject, unaccompanied by other voices
  • Trill in bars 86 to 90

In 1961 Antony Davies remarked that the Toccata was void of counterpoint.[111] Half a decade later BWV 565 was further questioned: Walter Emery advocated speculation as a viable method to approach the history of Bach's organ compositions,[121] and Friedrich Blume saw problems with the traditional historiography of Bach's Youth.[122] Roger Bullivant thought the fugue too simple for Bach and saw characteristics that were incompatible with his style:[112]

Attribution question

No edition of the Bach Werke Verzeichnis listed BWV 565 among the spurious or doubtful works,[119] nor does its entry on the website of the Bach Archiv Leipzig even mention such doubts.[120]

The matter still remains open, despite the scholarly discourse that began in 1981. Until proof of the contrary, BWV 565 should be considered as a work by Johann Sebastian Bach.

[19], who was sympathetic towards the violin version reconstruction:Jean-Claude Zehnder In the words of [33] statistical analysis left the attribution issue undecided by the second decade of the 21st century, failing to find a composer more compatible with the style of its fugue than Bach himself.[118] After initially confirming Williams' doubts about the authorship of BWV 565,[117], however with still more than half of the Fugue more likely composed by J. S. Bach.Johann Ludwig Krebs The same research indicated that large portions of the Fugue were consistent with the style of [117] Wilhelm Friedemann was however even less likely as composer of the Fugue than Kellner.statistical analysis According to 21st century [24] A violin composition by Bach's eldest son [19] elements ... this clearly stands in strong contrast to the dramatic style of the Toccata BWV 565".galant "... many of Kellner's keyboard pieces revealed that his style boasts pronounced [117] Kellner was outruled a quarter of a century later: "... in comparison with the style of Kellner, BWV 565 more resembles the style of J. S. Bach";[116] Despite many stylistic similarities,[115][23] In 1982 David Humphreys suggested that BWV 565 may have been composed and/or arranged by Kellner, or by someone from the circle around Kellner.

The analysis of the material sources for the piece, its eldest surviving manuscripts, was, although insufficiently pursued according to some scholars,[113] experienced as too limited to give a conclusive answer to these questions: what was available from that branch of the research could be explained in opposite directions.[114] Whether the more elaborate stylistic evidence was considered conclusive or merely circumstantial likewise depended on who was trying to prove what.[19]

  • The piece was originally composed for violin, not necessarily by Bach (this would explain the simplicity of the piece);
  • From such original version it was later transcribed for the organ, not necessarily by Bach (this would explain the modernity of the piece).

In a 1981 article Peter Williams reiterated the speculations with which he saw a way out of the conundrum, and which he had already announced in his 1980 book on Bach's organ compositions:[23]

A certain uneasiness regarding BWV 565 had been around long before the 1980s. From Hilgenfeldt in 1850 over Elgar in the 1920s to Basso in the late 1970s the extraordinary popularity of the piece seems to have taken scholars and musicians by surprise. From Mendelssohn's prophetic words, that it was something for both the erudite and the masses, only the latter part had really worked out. But scholars were getting involved: they analysed the composition's counterpoint as substandard.[18][94][111][112] They said it was stylistically too close to the galant style to be an early 18th century composition.[19] Its presumed time of composition had been shifted around: the composition was too modern to have been composed by a young Bach,[85][94] and too simplistic to have been composed by a middle-aged Bach.[88][112] Sure, Bach's genius could be invoked to explain the dislocated modernity in an immature composition, as commentators had done most of the time,[24][32][89] but more and more scholars felt unsatisfied with such intangible explanation.[23]

Authenticity research and reconstructions

The 1950 film Sunset Blvd. used BWV 565 as a joking reference to the horror genre.[106] BWV 565 also appeared in Fellini's 1960 La Dolce Vita.[110] The 1962 film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera used BWV 565 again in the suspense and horror sense.[108]

From 1936 another approach to using BWV 565 in film was in the make: Oskar Fischinger suggested to Stokowski abstract animations could be combined with his orchestral version of BWV 565, but the Disney studios were initially slow in accepting the idea. By the time Fantasia was released in 1940 the animations to Bach's BWV 565 had been made semi-abstract but Fischinger's original idea to let the performance of the music start with showing Stokowski directing his orchestra was preserved. A narrator introduced the piece as belonging in the category of absolute music. In the 1942 theatrical release of the film by RKO the Toccata and Fugue was entirely cut, only to return in a 1946 re-release. The Fantasia film contributed to the fame of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor.[19][109]

BWV 565 was used as film music well before the sound film era, becoming a cliché to illustrate horror and villainy. Its first uses in sound film included the 1931 film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and the 1934 film The Black Cat.[106][107][108]

In film

In 1947 Eugene Ormandy recorded his orchestration of the piece with the Philadelphia Orchestra.[102] Other orchestrations of the piece were provided by Fabien Sevitzky,[103] René Leibowitz (1958),[104] and Lucien Cailliet (1967).[105]

In 1927 Leopold Stokowski recorded his orchestration of BWV 565 with the Philadelphia Orchestra.[35] Soon the idea was emulated by other musicians: Stanisław Skrowaczewski's orchestration was performed in Carnegie Hall in 1928, Henry Wood (pseudonymously, as "Paul Klenovsky") realised his orchestration before the end of the decade, by the mid 1930s Leonidas Leonardi had published his orchestration, and Alois Melichar's orchestration was recorded in 1939.[98][99][100][101]

[97] Around the same time as Grace made orchestral version comparisons in his performance suggestions,

Stokowski's orchestration performed by himself and the Philadelphia Orchestra, reissued on two sides of a 78 rpm disc in the late 1920s

Problems playing these files? See .

Arrangements for symphony orchestra

J. S. Bach as Organist, a 1986 collection of essays edited by George Stauffer and Ernest May, spoke about the registration Bach would have used for BWV 565.[96]

In 1980 Peter Williams writes about BWV 565 in the first volume of his The Organ Music of J.S.Bach. The author warns against numerological overinterpretation like Volker Gwinner's. Many parts of the composition are described as typical for Bach. Williams sees stylistic matches with Pachelbel, with the north German organ school, with the Italian violin school, but sees as well various unusual features of the composition. Williams questions the authenticity of the piece, based on its various unusual features, and elaborates the idea that the piece may have a violin version ancestor.[94] The reworked edition of this book, in one volume, appears in 2003 and devotes more pages to the authenticity and prior version issues regarding BWV 565: in the mean while Williams had written his 1981 article on the authenticity of BWV 565, followed by numerous publications by other scholars about the same.[7][95]

In 1948 [32]

In the early 1920s Harvey Grace published a series of articles on Bach's organ works. He considers that the notes of the piece aren't too difficult to play, but that an organist performing the work is primarily challenged by interpretation. He continues with giving tips on how to perform the work so that it doesn't reach the ear of the listener as a "meaningless scramble". He describes the fugue as slender and simple, but only a "very sketchy example of the form". Grace refers to Pirro in his description of the piece, elaborates Pirro's "storm" analogy and like Pirro he seems convinced Bach went touring with the piece. His suggestions for the organ registration make comparisons with how the piece would be played by an orchestra.[18]

Before his 1906 Bach biography André Pirro had already written a book on Bach's organ works. In this book he devoted less than a page to BWV 565: he considers it some kind of program music depicting a tempest, including flashes of lightning and rumbling thunder. Pirro supposes Bach had success with this music in the smaller German courts he visited. All in all he judges the music as superficial, not more than a stepping stone in Bach's development.[26][92]

In books on Bach's organ works

Christoph Wolff qualifies BWV 565 as an early work in his 2000 Bach biography.[90] He describes it as "as refreshingly imaginative, varied, and ebullient as it is structurally undisciplined and unmastered".[91]

In his 1999 Bach-biography Klaus Eidam devotes a few pages to the Toccata and Fugue in D minor. He considers it an early work, probably composed for testing a new organ: the piece is excellent to test the technical qualities of an organ. For instance the crescendo that builds up through arpeggios, gradually building up to using hundreds of pipes at the same time, can show exactly at what point the wind system of the organ may let down. In this sense some of the more unusual characteristics of the piece can be explained as fitting in Bach's capacity as an organ tester.[89]


In Hubert Parry's 1909 Bach biography the work is qualified as "well known" and "one of the most effective of [Bach's] works in every way". He calls the Toccata "brilliantly rhapsodical", more or less follows Spitta in the description of the fugue, and is most impressed by the coda: "it would be hard to find a concluding passage more imposing or more absolutely adapted to the requirements of the instrument than this coda." Apart from seeing Buxtehude's influence, he likens the theme of the fugue to the theme of the fugue of Prelude and Fugue in B minor, BWV 544, which he considers a late work.[87]

In the D minor toccata and fugue, the strong and ardent spirit has finally realised the laws of form. A single dramatic ground-thought unites the daring passage work of the toccata, that seems to pile up like wave on wave; and in the fugue the intercalated passages in broken chords only serve to make the climax all the more powerful.

Up to this point none of the biographers seem to have given any special attention to BWV 565: if mentioned, it was listed or described along other organ compositions, but far from being considered the best or the most famous of Bach's organ compositions or even of his toccatas. This is however about to change: in 1908 Schweitzer reworks his biography for its first German edition: from this edition he indicates the work as "well-known".[86] After listing several organ works in which Bach showed himself a pupil of Buxtehude, Frescobaldi and various contemporary Italian composers, Schweitzer describes the Toccata and Fugue in D minor as a work in which the composer rises to independent mastery:[25]

[85] Spitta also saw a rhythmic figure that appears briefly in the concluding part of the work (bar 137) reappear extensively elaborated in the keyboard

Fugue in G minor, BWV 578.[10][11]

[81]'s 1865 Bach-biography BWV 565 only appears listed in an appendix.Karl Hermann Bitter Also in [80] In

In Bach's biographies

Tausig's version of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor was recorded on piano rolls several times in the first decades of the 20th century.[70][71] In 1926 Marie Novello recorded the Tausig piano version of BWV 565 on 78 rpm discs.[72] Percy Grainger's 1931 recording on the piano, based on the Tausig and Busoni transcriptions, was written out as a score by Leslie Howard, and then recorded by other artists.[73][74] Ignaz Friedman recorded the piano version he had published in 1944.[75][76] The 1950s to the first decades of the 21st century saw half a dozen recordings of Tausig's piano version,[77] and several dozens of Busoni's.[78]

Bach's Toccata and Fugue weren't performed on the organ exclusively: the title page of the first publication of the piece already indicated that performance on the piano by one or two players was possible.[36] From 1868 to 1881 Carl Tausig's piano transcription of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor was performed four times in the Gewandhaus in Leipzig.[64][65] Many more piano transcriptions of BWV 565 were published, for instance Louis Brassin's,[66][67] Ferruccio Busoni's,[68] and Max Reger's transcription for piano four hands.[69]

Piano arrangements

[63] Organists recording BWV 565 more than once include

Here is elemental and unbounded power, in impatiently ascending and descending runs and rolling masses of chords, that only with difficulty abates sufficiently to give place to the logic and balance of the fugue. With the reprise of the initial Toccata, the dramatic idea reaches its culmination amidst flying scales and with an ending of great sonority.

paints the force of the piece on a record sleeve:[57]

Hans-Joachim Schulze

[56] A recording with

In 1926 the organ version of BWV 565 was recorded on 78 rpm discs.[49] In a 1928 concert program Schweitzer indicated BWV 565 as one of Bach's best known compositions, considering it to be a youth work.[50] Schweitzer's first recording of the piece was issued in 1935.[51] In 1951 he recorded the work again.[15]

The first major public performance was by Mendelssohn, on 6 August 1840 in glockenspiel stop for the Prestissimo triplets in the opening section, and the quintadena stop for the repeated notes in bars 12–15.[48]

Program of Mendelssohn's 1840 organ concert: BWV 565 is listed as last piece by Bach, before the "Freie Phantasie" which was an improvisation by Mendelssohn

Performances and recordings

A facsimile of Ringk's manuscript was published in 2000.[2] In the 21st century such facsimile became available on-line,[3] as well as various downloadable files of previously printed editions.[46] In 2010 Breitkopf & Härtel initiated a new edition of Bach's organ works, BWV 565 appearing in its fourth volume.[19]

In 1950 the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis had been published: it was no longer needed to indicate the Toccata and Fugue in D minor as Peters Vol. IV, No. 4, as BGA Volume XV p. 267, as Novello VI, 1, or without "Dorian" to distinguish it from the Toccata and Fugue with the same key signature: hence it was simply BWV 565, and the other, the so-called Dorian, was BWV 538. The New Bach Edition included BWV 565 in Series IV, Volume 6 in 1964,[44] with its critical commentary published in Volume 5 in 1979.[45] Dietrich Kilian, the editor of these volumes, explains in the introduction to Vol. 6 that the New Bach Edition prefers to stay close to authoritative early sources for their score presentations: for BWV 565 this means staying close to the Ringk manuscript. Consequently, the name of the piece was again given in Italian as Toccata con Fuga and the piece was again written down in D Dorian (i.e. without at the key). However more modern conventions were maintained with regard to using the treble clef in the upper stave and using a separate stave for the pedal.[3][6]

[43] In the early 1910s

[40] The edition was conceived and partly prepared by [36] In 1833 BWV 565 was published for the first time, in the third of three bundles of "little known" organ compositions by Bach.

Score editions

What remains is "the most famous organ work in existence",[33] that in its rise to fame was helped by various arrangements, including bombastic piano settings,[34] versions for full symphonic orchestra,[35] and alternative settings for more modest solo instruments,[7]

The composition has been deemed "particularly suited to the organ",[11] and "strikingly unorganistic";[24] It has been seen as united by a single ground-thought,[25] and as containing "passages which have no connection whatever with the chief idea";[11] It has been called "entirely a thing of virtuosity"[26] and "not so difficult as it sounds";[18] It has been described as some sort of program music depicting a storm,[26] and as abstract music, quite the opposite of program music depicting a storm;[27] It has been presented as an emanation of the galant style, yet too dramatic to be anything near that style;[19] Its period of origin has been assumed to have been as early as around 1704,[28] and as late as the 1750s;[7] Its defining characteristics have been associated with extant compositions by Bach (BWV 531, 549a, 578, 911, 914, 922 and several of the solo violin sonatas and partitas),[7][11][29][30][31] and by others (including Nicolaus Bruhns and Johann Heinrich Buttstett),[7] as well as with untraceable earlier versions for other instruments and/or by other composers;[7] It has been deemed too simplistic for it to have been written down by Bach,[7] and too much a stroke of genius to have been composed by anyone else but Bach.[32]

In the first century of its existence the entire reception history of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor consists of being saved from oblivion by maybe not more than a single manuscript copy.[19] Then it took about a century from its first publication as a little known organ composition by Johann Sebastian Bach to becoming one of the signature pieces of the composer. The composition's third century took it from Bach's most often recorded organ piece to a composition with an unclear origin. Despite Mendelssohn's opinion that it was "at the same time learned and something for the people",[20] followed by a fairly successful piano transcription in the second half of the 19th century,[21] it wasn't until the 1900s that it rose above the average notability of an organ piece by Bach.[19] Stokowski's orchestration, featured in a Disney film in 1940, appears to have been instrumental in assuring its status as an evergreen by the 1980s,[22] around which time scholars started to seriously doubt its attribution to Bach.[23]

First page of the composition in Ringk's 18th-century manuscript


As was common practice for German music of the 17th century, the intended Harvey Grace.[18]

The performance time of the piece is usually around nine minutes, but shorter performance times (e.g. 8:15)[14] and execution times of over 10:30[15] exist. The first section of the piece, the Toccata, takes somewhat less than a third of the total performance time.[16][17]


A multi-sectional coda follows, marked Recitativo. Although only 17 bars long, it progresses through five tempo changes. The last bars are played Molto adagio, and the piece ends with a minor plagal cadence.[7]


The subject of the four-voice fugue is made up entirely of sixteenth notes, with an implied pedal point set against a brief melodic subject that first falls, then rises. Such violinistic figures are frequently encountered in Baroque music and that of Bach, both as fugue subjects and as material in non-imitative pieces. Unusually, the answer is in the subdominant key, rather than the traditional dominant. Although technically a four-part fugue, most of the time there are only three voices, and some of the interludes are in two, or even one voice (notated as two). Although only simple triadic harmony is employed throughout the fugue, there is an unexpected C minor subject entry, and furthermore, a solo pedal statement of the subject—a unique feature for a Baroque fugue.[13] Immediately after the final subject entry, the fugue resolves to a sustained B major chord.[7][12]


Three short passages follow, each reiterating a short motif and doubled at the octave. The section ends with a diminished seventh chord which resolved into the tonic, D minor, through a flourish. The second section of the Toccata is a number of loosely connected figurations and flourishes; the pedal switches to the dominant key, A minor. This section segues into the third and final section of the Toccata, which consists almost entirely of a passage doubled at the sixth and comprising reiterations of the same three-note figure, similar to doubled passages in the first section. After a brief pedal flourish, the piece ends with a D minor chord.[7]

\new Score <<
  \new PianoStaff <<
    \new Staff <<
      \new Voice \relative c''' {
        \set PianoStaff.connectArpeggios = ##t
        \override Score.NonMusicalPaperColumn #'line-break-permission = ##f
        \tempo Adagio
        a8 \fermata \mordent b,32 \rest g'64 f e d cis32 d16 b \rest b8 \rest \fermata
        a \fermata \mordent b32 \rest e, f cis d16 b' \rest b8 \rest \fermata |
        s2. \oneVoice 4 ~ \arpeggio
        4 d
      \new Voice \relative c'' {
        a8 \fermata \mordent s32 g64 f e d cis32 d16 s8. s2 |
        s4 a
    \new Staff <<
      \new Voice \relative c' {
        \clef "bass"
        s2 a8 \fermata \mordent d,32 \rest e f cis d16 d \rest d8 \rest \fermata |
        a'8 \fermata \mordent d,32 \rest g64 f e d cis32 d16 d16 \rest d8 \rest \fermata d4 \rest 4 ~ \arpeggio |
         ~ g'16 e fis8
      \new Voice \relative c {
        a8 \fermata \mordent s32 g64 f e d cis32 d16 s8. s2 |
        s4 d'4
  \new Staff \relative c, {
    \clef "bass"
    R1 |
    r2  d ~ |
played on the Flentrop organ at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music

The Toccata begins with a single-voice flourish in the upper ranges of the keyboard, doubled at the octave. It then spirals toward the bottom, where a diminished seventh chord appears (which actually implies a dominant chord with a minor 9th against a tonic pedal), built one note at a time. This resolves into a D major chord:[7]


BWV 565 exhibits a typical simplified north German structure with a free opening (toccata), a fugal section (fugue), and a short free closing section.[7]

Run time is 8 minutes, 45 seconds. Performed by Ashtar Moïra on organ

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Dieterich Buxtehude) and south German (e.g. Johann Pachelbel). The composition has stylistic characteristics from both schools: the stylus phantasticus,[9] and other north German characteristics are most apparent.[10][11] However, the numerous recitative stretches are rarely found in the works of northern composers and may have been inspired by Johann Heinrich Buttstett,[7] a pupil of Pachelbel, whose few surviving free works, particularly his Prelude and Capriccio in D minor, exhibit similar features. A passage in the fugue of BWV 565 is an exact copy of a phrase in one of Johann Pachelbel's D minor fantasias, and the first half of the subject is based on this Pachelbel passage as well. At the time it was however common practice to create fugues on other composers' themes.[12]

[7] dots, all very unusual features for pre–1740 German music.staccato (a characteristic feature of Ringk's copies) and fermatas markings, tempo Ringk's copy abounds in Italian [8]

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