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Admirers of fugues, especially those by Bach’s sons, will find ample interest in this recording of music by Johann Sebastian’s eldest son. This recording accounts for 18 fugues together with seven chorale preludes (also fugal). Despite an exceptional upbringing, Friedemann was a tormented soul who, after prestigious posts in Dresden and Halle, died in poverty in 1784. Filippo Turri links W.F.’s mental torment with the intense chromaticism found in many fugues (a romantic association). The two modern Italian organs sound very different, the three-stop Positive organ (CD 1) sounding remarkably close and ‘chiffy’, tending to disturb the contrapuntal lines somewhat.

DAVID PONSFORD Read the full review on Agora Classica

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