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Toccata No. 1 in A Minor

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Uploaded by: mckinndl (02/10/24)
Composer: Froberger, Johann Jakob
Sample Producer: Inspired Acoustics
Sample Set: Pusztaszabolcs
Software: Hauptwerk VIII
Genre: Baroque
Description:
The first Froberger toccata is considered by scholars to be one of his outstanding compositions (see Kosnik, link is here: https://digitalcommons.odu.edu/music_pubs/1/).

The first of the three parts has the same stylistic elements as his elevation toccatas. Froberger instructed that these should always begin slowly. As such, I began the piece just as Louis Couperin did in his "Prelude a L'imitation de Mr. Froberger." One might say I applied a more harpsichord-like approach to this part.

Sections two and three of the toccata have completely different characters than the opening one, with more rhythmic elements and stricter tempos. I added a bit of ornamentation to these latter parts in the same veins as Speth and Pachelbel.

Though the closing bars of section two could be played freely, I found the switch back to the opening part style interrupted the piece's flow. As such, I play these pretty strictly in time here. But, when the final three measures of the whole piece once more revert back to the opening elevation section style, I chose to hearken back to the earlier, very free approach, and I even gave the final chord a dramatic flair, reminiscent of Couperin's treatment of the opening chord, full of lower neighboring tones for color and spice through a downward arpeggiation, thus tying the entire piece together.

Technical aspects: Even though scholars maintain that this toccata can be played in quarter-comma meantone, the older tuning on this organ made the high notes at the end squeal too much, and the wolf tones lingered far too long with the reverb I added to be really enjoyable. So to maintain good taste, I opted for the organ's original temperament, Werckmeister III. We do know that Froberger and contemporaries had access to and were proponents of even-tempered keyboards. So I believe the recording is still authentic in this regard. I used HW's Church 3 @ 35% wet for the added 3.9 seconds reverb.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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