Complete Organ Works
Johann Sebastian Bach’s eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann, not only is regarded as the most gifted of the four Bach sons but also during his lifetime enjoyed renown as the leading organist of his generation. It is thus more than astonishing that we hardly have any works by him documenting his rank as an organist. Apart from a cycle of eight fugues, only a little collection of seven chorale preludes and a few isolated fugues have been transmitted to us. Contemporary descriptions suggest that most of W. F. Bach’s virtuoso performances consisted of improvisations. His great free (keyboard) fantasias convey an enduring impression of the power of these improvisations, while the seven chorale arrangements are maintained in an old-fashioned style more reminiscent of Pachelbel. His eight fugues »for harpsichord or organ« seem to be the result of his endeavoring to combine the polyphonic art of his father and the musical language – galant and empfindsam – of the younger generation.