J.S Bach, Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in d-minor, BWV 903

J.S Bach, Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in d-minor, BWV 903

Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in d-minor, BWV 903. Composed by J.S. Bach (1685-1750).
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord (harpsichord- Henri Hamsch, Paris 1751)

I. Fantasia
II. Fuga

“The Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue was for a long time one of Bach’s most famous works. Although he did not include it in the Clavier-Übung series, it appeared in print as early as 1802, and in 1819 Peters published an edition which claimed to indicate its true interpretation as handed won from Bach through his son Wilhelm Friedemann to Bach’s biographer Forkel and his pupils-though the result looks too pianistic to be credible. According to Forkel,

‘When Bach played from his fancy, all
twenty-four keys were within his power; he
did with them what he pleased. He
connected the most remote as easily and as
naturally together as the nearest; the hearer
believed he had modulated with the
compass of a single key. He knew nothing of
harshness in modulation; even his transitions
in the chromatic style were as soft and
flowing as if he had wholly confined himself
to the diatonic scale. His Chromatic Fantasy
may prove what I here state. All his
extempore fantasies are said to have been of
a similar description, but frequently much
more free, brilliant and expressive.’ “

~Clifford Bartlett, 1992.

I find this very intriguing; maybe it is just my ears but I could see some similarity in some of Frederic Chopin’s Fantasy Impromptu. I wonder if Chopin liked this piece- I read that he admired Bach. Of course, the sound of the harpsichord is very different to an 1840s piano, but  I can hear a in similarity the fast runs up and down the keyboard.

Not only that I can hear some similarities to some passages in Ludwig van Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata– that will be the fugue part.

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About EdwardianPiano

I am a classical music enthusiast, history geek, artist and writer.
This entry was posted in Historically informed performance, J.S Bach and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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