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Bach Works Requiring Three Manuals


James Goldrick
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From a purely necessitive perspective of Bach's organ works, which pieces seem to indicate the requirement of a third manual? The ''Sei gegruesset' partita instantly springs to mind due to the penultimate variation and the two cantus firmi.

 

Are there any other examples I can't think of at the moment?

 

Thanks

 

JG

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Guest Cynic
From a purely necessitive perspective of Bach's organ works, which pieces seem to indicate the requirement of a third manual? The ''Sei gegruesset' partita instantly springs to mind due to the penultimate variation and the two cantus firmi.

 

Are there any other examples I can't think of at the moment?

 

Thanks

 

JG

 

 

Very few indeed and I agree absolutely with the example you give. Even if one forgets the question 'what's necessary?' and passes to 'what's effective?' there aren't many cases. One movement I like to play on three manuals is the Adagio from the Vivaldi/Bach Concerto in A minor (alternating the RH passages in a similar way to the Sei gregusset variation). I enjoy using all the manuals available in the Passacaglia, but then some will say that all the variations should be played on the same registration throughout. Spoilsports!

 

Now if you'd asked about Buxtehude.....

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