Johann Sebastian Bach 
Fantasia and Fugue in C-Minor, S. 562

Presented in Two Separate Performance Editions

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Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue fragment in C minor,  S.  562, is drawn from a four-page autograph manuscript dating from ca. 1747-8 and earlier. The sublimely somber five-voice fantasia presents a strongly motivic subject one measure in length that migrates imitatively through one contrapuntal voice to another. A counter-exposition in G minor gives way to episodic development and tonal peregrinations, landing finally on an extended tonic pedalpoint underpinning
the closing flourishes of upward-cascading chords, and followed by an abbreviated recitativo and cadence. The presence of grace-note appoggiatura figures in the one-measure subject hints at an improvisatory interpretation that might encourage additional ornamention throughout.

The autograph manuscript presents the first 27 measures of S. 562's fugue on one full page, with system end-neumes added at the close of the last measure to indicate the continuing pitches for each of the five voices. It is unknown whether the project was put aside and eventually left unfinished, or whether subsequent pages were written but lost in the shuffle of time.  In its melodic (or mirror) inversion, the subject of the fugue presents the first six notes of the theme of Bach’s organ Passacaglia in C minor, which was in turn drawn from the Christe movement of André Raison’s Organ Mass in D minor; its tail is composed of a chain of suspended scale-wise half-note syncopations.

S. 562 offers a serious challenge as a reconstruction project, a fanciful one at that, providing basic guideposts to suggest what Bach himself might originally have envisioned. The fantasia has been re-edited with a clarified notation of the many grace-note appogiatura figurations to be found in the autograph manuscript. The fugal continuation presented here includes stretto entries of the subject, the introduction of a contrasting second countersubject, the mirrored form of the subject by itself and in stretto, all linked together with imitative transitions and episodic developments. In the Baroque spirit of improvisation, a brief cadenza has been added, followed by a concluding cadential subject statement.
As a cautionary note, both movements will likely pose technical challenges to players, requiring careful fingering patterns to accomodate distribution of their five-voice countrapuntal textures.

To access an Internet link for download and viewing of a high-resolution PDF document copy of the original four-page Bach autograph, visit Bach Archive online at: Special thanks are due to Temmo Korisheli of UCSB's Music Library for the Bach Archive online routing.

Complimentary PDF Booklet Files

J. S. Bach S. 562: Fantasia in C-Minor 

J. S. Bach S. 562: Fugue in C-Minor
Two Clarified Performance Editions
for Organ with Pedal Obligato
Including Notes and full music scores