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Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue (tr Knox)

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Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (trans. Thomas Knox)

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This work bears the designation BWV 564.

General Info

Year: c. 1717 /
Duration: c. 15:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Organ
Publisher: U.S. Marine Band
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


1. Toccata
2. Adagio
3. Fugue


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C Major (BWV 564) is an organ composition by Johann Sebastian Bach. Similar to most other organ works by Bach, the autograph score does not survive. The earliest manuscript copies were probably made in 1719–1727. The title of the piece in these copies is given, as expected of organ literature of the time, simply as Toccata in C major (or more precisely, Toccata ped: ex C in one source and Toccata ex C♮ pedaliter, referring to the obbligato pedal part). The piece is an early work, probably composed in the mid-to-late Weimar years, i.e., 1710–1717. It shares some similarities with other toccatas composed around the same time, such as BWV 538, BWV 540, and others: all show the influence of concerto style and form.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

Although he was born and educated in Germany, Bach's knowledge of foreign music was extensive, and many of his works rely on Italian and French musical idioms. The Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C Major, BWV 564 is a fine example of this stylistic blending, where Bach expertly grafts the Italianate concerto into the North German Prelude and Fugue. The work almost certainly dates from the Weimar period. The first movement is strictly sectional, and is seen by Bach scholar Peter Williams as “a deliberate enlargement of an old prelude-type: manual passaggio + pedal solo + motivic-contrapuntal section.” The second movement is unique among Bach's works, not so much because of the solo/accompaniment texture, but because of its obvious reliance on instrumental idioms, leading Peter Williams to speculate that it may have originated as a movement for oboe solo. The Adagio is concluded by a contrasting section in the Durezze e Ligature style, characterized by strong dissonances and dense sonorities. The fugue is similarly unique in Bach's output. Its lighthearted subject recalls the youthful exuberance of the opening toccata, but its complex counterpoint, virtuosic writing, and unique fugal treatments reveal the designs of a mature musical mind.

- Program Note from University of Texas Wind Symphony concert program, 18 November 2015


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Ryan J. Nowlin, conductor) – 25 March 2018

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