During the XIXth century and most part of the XXth, organists who performed Bach used to draw 16 feet stops according to a strict principle accepted by everybody : always a 16 feet in Pedal, never a 16 feet in manuals. Apart from a few special cases this rule was applied with no exception, including in the Plenum (it’s the famous registration ‘Foundations 8-4, Mixtures’ tackled by Gorenstein in the volume The interpretation of Bach in the ‘great French organ school’ 1900 - 1960).
However a close look at Bach's organ pieces, at the instruments Bach played and at documents he wrote himself leads to question this principle drastically. Thanks to numerous examples this volumes suggests solutions often quite different ; therefore many Chorales, Trios or great Preludes and Fugues reveal unexpected aspects. Consequently the registrations by the followers of Bach get a new light, as the reasons which made this famous principle take shape.
(This volume is a new, corrected and augmented version of the article issued in the magazine La Tribune de l’Orgue in 2009-2010.)