Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The "Wacky" Fantasia in a minor, BWV 922

I came across this one whilst clearing out my mbox of the voluminous amounts of email I allowed to accumulate. This comes courtesy of Dr. Bradley Lehman via the PIPORG-L listserv.

Dr. Lehman posted a video of his performance of the little-performed Bach Fantasia in a minor, which he recorded in 2005 at Goshen College, Goshen Indiana USA. The organ is the Taylor & Boody Opus 41.

Here is what he says about this recording, lifted from the descriptions from the YouTube video:
The recording was part of the sessions for the 3-CD set A Joy Forever, but eventually we decided the set was already full enough without it. It is published here as an informal video, with a scrolling score.

Bach wrote this music in his late 20s.

Organists don't find this piece in their handy volumes of "Bach organ music" because of the artificial division that happened more than 100 years ago between Bach "organ" and "keyboard" pieces. The pedal part here is at the player's initiative and discretion.

In most of the ways that harpsichordists tune, the triads of B, F#, and C# majors sound rough ... and this piece uses enough of them that it turns into an ugly mess.

Some sections of the piece are long and repetitive, with little happening beyond some adventurous modulations (akin to those of the f# minor toccata, BWV 910). In the equal temperament of pianos and most organs, it is difficult to make much of this without being merely dull.

The piece is arguably too big and boisterous for the clavichord.

What is left but to leave it mostly unplayed? However, it deserves better!

Details about the tuning, and purchase information for the CD set and the related harpsichord solo CD may be found here.
I'm listening to this right now, and it is pretty neat. The video is embedded below; enjoy!

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