Kuhnau (1660† 1722) was the predecessor of Bach at Saint-Thomas of Leipzig, where he was Director of the Music, and further Cantor. In 1716 he met Bach in Halle for the valuation of acceptance of work made in the organ of the Liebfrauenkirche, and both musicians had together a ‘colossal’ diner.
Of Kuhnau only four organ works are known, all of them being published here. They make us regret not to know some more ! We find a Praeludium in G and a Praeludium in B flat (on the usual plan of Prelude with a linked Fugue), a Fugue in C with no pedals, light and lively, and a large Toccata in A on the broad Buxtehudian template, with alternated episodes (Allegros / Adagios with keyboards effects, etc) followed by a magnificient fugue in 3/4, on a large and much lyric subject, which makes the whole organ sing.
The required technical level for playing is equivalent to that of Pachelbel’s works.
This volume is the only one giving the complete set of Kuhnau’s organ works actually known. The musicologist Max Seiffert already published some of them, but after re-writing in his own way (and without saying so) the problematic areas. Here, on the contrary, the Critical Notes (as with every volumes from Chanvrelin) systematically describe the sources and the readings made of them.
Toccata Præludium ex G Præludium alla breve (B flat) Fuga