The Toccata and Fugue in D Minor of J.S. Bach BWV 565. Performed on a Flentrop organ at All Saints Episcopal Church, Palo Alto California, by Rodney Gehrke.
High Definition, anamorphic video by Voices of Music. Subwoofer recommended. A Vimeo version is available also.
Bach's signature work for organ solo, performed on a Flentrop organ by Rodney Gehrke, as part of the Voices of Music "Great Works" series. One of the most brilliant and creative compositions ever written for the organ, the Toccata and Fugue are characterized by a grand, cathedral-like architecture. Pedal points provide the foundation, strettos engrave recurring design motifs on the architraves that join immense columns of sound, quirky modulations form spandrels at the ends of phrases, blue notes spout from the gargoyles guarding the rails of free-form episodes--episodes that form a fan-vault over the chords; subject and counter-subject weave rood-screens between the main formal sections, the fugue rules square the structure in balanced harmony, and striking modal colors provide illumination through the clerestory windows of Bach's imagination.
The work is unique in many respects, and these unique qualities--for example, the statement of the fugue subject in the pedals is unprecedented in any work of the baroque--have led musicologists to speculate that the work may not be by Bach, or that it is an arrangement drawn from a work for another instrument. But what instrument besides the organ could build a cathedral of sound? What immortal hand or eye could frame its sonic symmetry?