Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, orchestrated by Stokowski
My first encounter with the work…
As a kid, I didn’t have a lot of contact with classical music. But I clearly remember the few times I did (old vinyl LPs and audio cassettes at my parents’ place) and how it awoke unique feelings and emotions in me.
There were two works that really fascinated me back then. Both are known for their themes played at the very start of the work. They’re Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor.
The way I discovered the Bach was special: it was the music played at the start of a TV show called Il était une fois l’Homme that we watched in history class when I was 12. It was my favourite part of the show!
My favourite passage
Back then, I especially liked the moment when the fugue begins because, even though I wasn’t too clear on Bach’s perfectly mastered counterpoint, I could still appreciate the genius that wove the musical lines into a harmonious whole.
The work is easy to find on streaming platforms online, performed on the organ or in its symphonic version orchestrated by Leopold Stokowski. I’d like to recommend a performance I think is excellent, recorded by an ensemble of brass-family instruments.