Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major

From Wind Repertory Project
Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (arr. Mordechai Rechtman)

This work bears the designation BWV 564.

General Info

Year: c. 1717 / 2006
Duration: c. 15:15
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Organ
Publisher: Accolade
Cost: Score and Parts - €65.00


1. Toccata – 6:10
2. Adagio – 4:20
3. Fugue – 4:20


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C Major (BWV 564) is an organ composition by Johann Sebastian Bach. As is the case with 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.

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”.

BWV 564 influenced a number of composers both during Bach’s lifetime and after his death. Bach’s pupil Johann Ludwig Krebs imitated the work in his Prelude and Fugue in C major (leaving out, however, the slow movement), while in the 20th century, Ferruccio Busoni published a transcription of BWV 564 for the piano (1900; one of many Bach transcriptions by the same author), and the work influenced Busoni’s own Toccata for Piano (1920).

- Program Note by Richard Douglas Jones and Peter Williams


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Sarah McKoin, conductor) – 29 October 2019

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