Johann Sebastian Bach

Passacaglia and Fugue, for organ in C minor, BWV 582 (BC J79)

    Description by Blair Johnston

    Even though he was one of music's great conservatives, it is often (and rightly) remarked that J.S. Bach was a great cosmopolitan -- in his music, the north countries meet southern Germany, France, and Italy in striking ways previously almost unknown. In the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582, Bach joins together elements from distinct nations and traditions in ways that may be heard very close to the musical surface indeed. The eight-bar ground bass upon which the Passacaglia is based (and also the Fugue, which is actually not marked by Bach as a distinct and separate piece, but rather as just another use of the passacaglia ground bass, "Thema fugatum") seems to have been extracted from a sacred work by an obscure contemporary French composer named Andre Raison. There are, leading up to the fugue portion, 21 statements of the ground bass in all, starting with the unharmonized bass solo at the very opening and growing ever more active until at last a full-blown frenzy of imitative sixteenth notes in the upper voices leads the way to the fugue; during a few of the middle variations, the ground bass moves up into the soprano and then into the alto voice. The fugue makes use only of the first four bars of the French ground bass, transforming it into a subject upon which Bach can, over the course of 124 bars, exercise the full glory of his wholly northern-learned contrapuntal genius. Since the fugue is not really separate in the manner of, for example, Bach's preludes and fugues, the work is sometimes known simply as the Passacaglia.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Passacaglia
    2. Fugue

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Willowhayne Records LCSCD 006
    2018 Decca
    2018 Piano Classics PCL 10139
    2018 Oehms Classics OC 465
    2018 Oehms Classics OC 020
    2018 ABC Classics
    2017 ATMA Classique ACD 22745
    2017 Naïve OP 30575
    2017 Azica Records ACD 71314
    2017 Pentatone Classics / PentaTone Classics PTC 5186593
    2017 Analekta AN 29136
    2017 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 16010
    2017 ABC Classics
    2016 Brilliant Classics 95310BR
    2016 Sony Classical 88875178262
    2016 Exton 83
    2016 Onclassical OC 150B
    2016 Brilliant Classics 95166BR
    2016 Soundset SR 1076
    2016 Loft Recordings LRCD 1161
    2016 Challenge Classics CC 72264
    2015 Gall (formerly Gallo) CD 1431
    2015 Oehms Classics OC 1827
    2015 Raven / Raven Records OAR 956
    2015 Dux Records DUX 1116
    2015 Brilliant Classics 95005BR
    2015 ZYX Classics CLA 101892
    2015 Prestare ZWF 3331567
    2015 Opening Day Recordings ODR 7450
    2015 MSR Classics MS 1561
    2015 Delphian DCD 34132
    2014 Claves 501314
    2014 Hungaroton HCD 32735
    2014 Profil / Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 13053
    2014 Querstand QUE 1311
    2013 Loft Recordings LRCD 1131
    2013 The Gift of Music CCLCDG 1273
    2013 Editions Hortus 20
    2013 MDG
    2013 Coro COR 16112
    2013 Newton Classics 8802164
    2013 La Dolce Volta LDV 04
    2013 Melodiya MYD 1002109
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94456
    2013 TYX Art TXA 12015
    2012 Naxos 8572741
    2012 Alba ABCD 346
    2012 Rewind REW 500
    2012 Berlin Classics BER 300336
    2012 Audite AUDITE 92663
    2012 Querstand VKJK 1132
    2012 Rondeau ROP 606566
    2012 Brilliant Classics 9269
    2011 Berlin Classics 0300202
    2011 Oehms Classics OC634
    2011 MDG MDG 60617082
    2011 Antes Edition / Zebralution
    2011 Stradivarius DB 072010
    2011 CSO / CSO Resound CSOR 9011103
    2011 CSO / CSO Resound CSOR 9011101
    2011 Querstand VKJK1021
    2011 Signum Classics SIGCD 261
    2011 Erato 2564676018
    2011 Analekta AN29970
    2011 Regent REGCD 308
    2011 Guild GHCD 236465
    2011 Warner Classics 80821
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Documents 233041
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Ars Musici 232398
    2010 Hyperion 64409
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4778628
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 477 862-8
    2010 Apex 256467940
    2010 Hyperion CDA 30004
    2010 EPR-Classic 3
    2010 Albany Music Distribution 1183
    2010 Divine Art 25088
    2010 ZYX Classics 1023
    2010 Pro Organo 7236
    2010 Dorian 92123
    2010 Meridian Records 84326
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Ricercar 289
    2009 EMI Classics
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926428
    2009 Berlin Classics 0149572
    2009 Klavier Records 11174
    2009 Tudor Records 725
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Regent 306
    2009 Valitova Productions 1006
    2008 Marquis Records 81375
    2008 Chandos 0510
    2008 Philips 464988
    2008 Maestro Music 4696560
    2008 D.E. Versluis 1013
    2008 Loft Recordings 1105
    2008 Phoenix Edition 134PHOENIX
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 09393
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 4694202
    2008 Berlin Classics 0014222BC
    2008 Alto 1027
    2008 Signum UK 114
    2008 Sony Classical Essential Classics 727987
    2008 Madacy Entertainment 53751
    2008 Pro Organo 7218
    2007 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0946383765
    2007 Musical Concepts 191
    2007 BIS 1527/28
    2007 Analekta 24022-43
    2007 Haenssler 98504
    2007 Oehms Classics 573
    2007 Idis 6507/2
    2007 Apex
    2007 Melodiya 1001230
    2007 Fagott Records 39039
    2007 Erato 4699028
    2007 Christophorus 77292
    2007 X5 Music Group 21300
    2007 Gothic Records 49255
    2006 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946374378
    2006 Madacy 52243
    2006 EMI Music Distribution
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99697
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 4767814
    2006 Berlin Classics 0185322
    2006 Aeolus Music 10136
    2006 Aeolus Music 10181
    2006 Warner Classics 4636712
    2006 Raven 875
    2006 Arsis 405
    2006 Novalis 150180
    2006 Gallo 900
    2006 PentaTone Classics 5186127
    2006 Nosag Records 2098
    2006 Naxos 8557883
    2006 Analekta 3002
    2005 Regis Records 2042
    2005 Hyperion CDA67506
    2005 Decca 000491502
    2005 Cascavelle 1047
    2005 Challenge Records 72146
    2005 Music & Arts CD1173
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 69328
    2005 Archipel 0269
    2005 Interdisc Trading 97440
    2005 Psallite 60591
    2005 Capriccio Records 49444
    2005 Decca 4756828
    2005 Organ Arts 4135
    2005 Raven 780
    2005 Raven 740
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 57758
    2004 Telarc Distribution 80637
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 585630
    2004 EMI Classics 75215
    2004 Archiv Produktion 000185602
    2004 Laserlight 14599
    2004 Capriccio Records 49231
    2004 Vanguard 1554
    2004 Ifo 86
    2004 JAV Recordings JAV145
    2004 Raven 690
    2004 Stradivarius 33639
    2003 Art & Music 1539/58
    2003 Philips 000150902
    2003 Arbiter ARBITER135
    2003 Challenge Classics 72096
    2003 Cybele 30202
    2003 Delos 3325
    2002 Disques Pierre Verany 710811
    2002 Haenssler 94037
    2002 Teldec 81130
    2002 Sony Classical 89955
    2002 Decca / Universal Distribution 472478
    2002 Hyperion 44121/36
    2002 History 205186
    2001 Hyperion CDA67309
    2001 Teldec 82041
    2001 Pioneer 11544
    2001 Andante 2986-2989
    2001 Loft Recordings 1025
    2001 Pro Organo 7082
    2001 Haenssler 98937
    2000 Signum UK 9300
    2000 Dulcian CD D006
    2000 Kleos Classics 5107
    2000 Arts Music 47569
    2000 Harmonia Mundi 295771
    2000 Pro Musica 9038
    2000 CPO 999701
    2000 Motette 12511
    2000 Archiv Produktion 463712
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 73878
    2000 Dorian 93204
    2000 Gothic Records 49114
    2000 RS 29
    2000 Motette 12451
    2000 Haenssler 92092
    2000 Collectors' Choice Music 124
    1999 Teldec 25705
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Capriccio Records 492542
    1999 Harmonia Mundi 290772
    1999 London 455291
    1999 Harmonia Mundi 190771
    1999 Teldec 3984-25713-2
    1999 Valois 4425
    1999 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243573568
    1999 Seraphim Classics
    1999 Archiv Produktion 419904
    1999 Pearl 9863
    1999 Gothic Records 49104
    1999 Fermate 20028
    1999 Angel Records 56836B
    1999 Sony Music Distribution 60990
    1999 Cantate 57619
    1998 Bach Guild 2005
    1998 Ornament 11452
    1998 Nimbus 5561/2
    1997 Helicon Records 1010
    1997 EMI Music Distribution 66385
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453 064-2GTA2
    1997 MDG MDG318 0241-2
    1997 RCA Victor 68816
    1997 Melodiya 33214
    1997 Gothic Records 49093
    1996 Sony Classical 62385
    1996 Archiv Produktion 447292
    1996 Seraphim UK 69119
    1996 RCA Victor 61892
    1996 Naxos 553859
    1996 London 448946
    1996 Sony Music Distribution 62345
    1995 Point Records 5114
    1995 Gallo 628
    1995 London 443485
    1995 Teldec 94458
    1995 Naxos 505024
    1995 Haenssler 98967
    1995 Curb 78025
    1995 Vox 5100
    1995 London 444410
    1995 Capriccio Records 10460
    1995 Novalis 150130
    1995 Grammofono 2000 78586
    1995 Centaur Records 2246
    1994 Pearl 9098
    1994 Capriccio Records 10305
    1994 Naxos 8550704
    1994 Saydisc 386
    1994 Gothic Records 49049
    1994 Erato 96358
    1994 Erato 96747
    1994 BIS 379
    1994 Chandos 9259
    1993 Ermitage 135
    1993 Isis Records 002
    1993 EMI Music Distribution 65028
    1993 Deutsche Grammophon 435381
    1993 Ambitus 97854
    1993 Reference Recordings 43
    1992 Moss Music Group 5059
    1992 Harmonia Mundi 390771
    1992 Novalis 150052
    1992 Collins Records 13332
    1991 Sony Music Distribution 46551
    1991 Chandos 6532
    1990 Telarc Distribution 80049
    1990 Hyperion 66434
    1990 RCA 3554
    1988 CBS Records 42644
    1986 Newport Classic 60004
    1984 Erato 2292-45188-2
    1983 Telarc Distribution 80049
    Saarländischen Rundfunks 372
    Pro Organo 7054
    Iron Needle 1397
    Brilliant 93102-VOL6
    Brilliant 99706
    Brilliant 93102/148
    Brilliant 99706/10
    EMI Music Distribution 65728
    Calliope 9230
    Analekta 4030
    Denon Records 7039
    Reader's Digest Music 5943
    MDG MDG 330 1006-2
    Deutsche Grammophon 403302
    Erato
    Edelweiss Records 1030
    Selene 940723
    Interdisc Trading 97440/4
    Ligia 104081
    EMI Music Distribution
    Ligia 0104037
    London 421337
    Archiv Produktion 463714
    Erato 88004
    Erato 45922
    Philips 422965
    Disques Pierre Verany 789104
    RCA 60785
    Hyperion 44124
    Forlane 16686/87
    Newport Classic 60090
    Amphion 141
    Capriccio Records 492320
    Archiv Produktion 413638
    Arlene Ward
    Manchester 100
    EMI Music Distribution 64321
    Phonographe 5025
    Valois 4410
    Donau 8034
    Vox 5059
    Berlin Classics 0093632BC
    Edelweiss Records 1030
    RCA Victor 61893
    Priory Records 523
    Melodiya 33230
    Guild Historical 2202
    EMI Classics 698555
    Madacy Entertainment 53752
    Denon Records 8009
    History 205187
    Melodram 104001
    Conch Classics 4
    Denon Records 1195