Johann Sebastian Bach was better known as a virtuoso
organist than as a composer in his day. His sacred
music, organ and choral works, and other instrumental
music had an enthusiasm and seeming freedom that
concealed immense rigor. Bach's use of counterpoint was
brilliant and innovative, and the immense complexities
of his compositional style -- which often included
religious and numerological symbols that seem to fit
perfectly together in a profound puzzle of special
codes -- still amaze musicians today. Many consider him
the greatest composer of all time.
As a young man, Bach developed a rather unique talent
for writing long passages of pseudo recitative for the
organ, trusting the acoustics of the building to 'fill
out' the harmony the listener experiences, even though
no more than a single note at any one time is being
played. The organ wasn't the only instrument where he
displayed this skill as with his Cello sonatas.
Pièce d'Orgue in G, BWV 572, also known as Fantasia in
three parts, is written in a French style. It
originated rather early in Bach's career (before 1712).
The first part is entitled as Tres vitement (very
fast), the second - Gravement (heavy) and the final
part - Lentement (slow). Basically it is a virtuosic
episode written in a monophonic texture containing both
the elements of arpeggio and scale-based passages. At
any rate, even at this early stage of Bach's career,
the composer shows a unique angle of blending
multi-cultural elements in one work.
Because of fast runs and passages, the opening are
reminiscent of a toccata. The Italians would call the
opening section the Passagio which was also a common
feature in the North German Praeludia. However, it is
questionable whether the Italian term is appropriate in
the French style composition.
In the longest main central section, we can hear very
imposing stepwise rising theme in long note values
which is treated in a fugal manner in various voices.
This is a typical French 5 part texture, because the
French employed 5 stringed instruments in an ensemble
(2 violins, 2 violas, and a violon). Therefore, many of
the French classical type of compositions are written
in this texture as well (especially the fugues).
Apparently for Bach this central section was like a
case study in suspensions (Just look at any measure you
want and you will see tied notes over the bar lines).
The suspension technique gives a constant feeling of
tension and continuity with most of the cadences in
this section being deceptive. That means whenever Bach
ends a fragment in one key, he does not use chords of
the Dominant and Tonic but rather Dominant and the
chord of 6th scale degree.
Pièce d'Orgue ends with a virtuosic but a little slower
and heavier texture which has 5 voices encoded: 4
voices could be perceived in both hands and magnificent
Dominant pedal point in the pedal line.
Although originally written for Organ, I created this
modern interpretation of the Fantasia in G Major (BWV
572) for Marimba & Strings (2 Violins, Viola &
Please see Bertalan Fodor's rendering of the entire
this rendering of the Gravement (section 2) at