Bach: Toccatas BWV 910-916 / Rübsam
In contrast to the Well-Tempered Clavier, which remained omnipresent in general musical and cultural consciousness after J.S. Bach's death, and the Goldberg Variations, adorned in the 20th century with an almost mystical aura, Bach’s seven keyboard toccatas have been unjustly relegated to the shadows. Composed between about 1707 and 1713, the Toccatas contain "stylus phantasticus" (fantastical style) elements of the North German baroque and are a delightful mixture of virtuoso, recitative, arioso, concertante, imitative and fugal sections, entirely in the original musical sense of the word toccare, to explore by touch.
This recording also features Bach's Prelude and Fugue BWV 894, probably written during his Weimar phase. The title Prelude is perhaps a little misleading, since it is actually a concerto-like movement, and the fugue is also more like a gigue riding out on a ceaseless hunt. Bach ingeniously reshaped the work into his Triple Concerto BWV 1044 during his Leipzig period, interpolating a second movement taken from the Trio Sonata BWV 527. Wolfgang Rübsam came up with the original idea for this recording of transferring the middle movement of BWV 1044, lifted by Bach from BWV 527, to the equivalent position between the original Prelude and Fugue movements of BWV 894.
Bach demonstrably owned at least two lute-harpsichords, listed in his estate catalogue of 1750. Rübsam’s decision to record all these works on such an instrument has proved extremely fortuitous, especially with regard to the toccatas. The poetic tone of Keith Hill's instrument – sonorous and noble in the lower registers, brilliant in the higher registers – forms an almost perfect synthesis with Rübsam’s imaginative playing.
Release Date: January 21, 2022
Catalog Number: BRI96437
Label: Brilliant Classics