Johann Sebastian Bach's seven keyboard toccatas are perhaps early works and thusly designed to impress--something they do quite beyond all reasonable expectation ('early' is a relative term with Bach because even his earliest works are almost always fully matured masterpieces).
This is Bach the greatest keyboard player at the zenith of his power; and, listening to these works, it is easy to understand why the keyboard artists who were Bach's contemporary competitors usually wanted no part of any head-to-head comparisons or competitions with him.
Above the brilliance and the grandeur... what sublimity! What noble majesty! What passion and grace! If there's one word which best describes this sort of music it's sheer, unadulterated 'deliciousness.'
Such unreigned indulgences were, of course, a sin during the 'classical' period... Europe had turned outward, impersonal, and music which explores the individual's earthier feelings and emotions seemed almost too self-centered and selfish--sacrifices to some greater cause of king & country were the buzz-words then, and it wasn't until Beethoven that it was again permissible to indulge oneself in earthy 'sensations' such as are evoked by this so very 'delicious' music.
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Copyright (P) 1997 Mr. S. D. Rodrian
Although any transcription of Bach's music is by definition in the Public Domain, these 'interpretations' ARE copyrighted as performances:
This music may not be reproduced by any means without the expressed written permission of S. D. Rodrian... with the one exception that these Midi files (either in the ZIPped "JSB_TOC.ZIP" file or individually) may be freely distributed through the WWW as long as they are not modified in any way:
MP3 versions of these files are available at:
BACH_KEYBOARD_TOCCATAS or at either:
J S Bach's Seven Keyboard Toccatas (piano here)
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD ALL SEVEN
Toccata No.1 in f#m
Toccata No.2 in cm
Toccata No.3 in D
Toccata No.4 in dm
Toccata No.5 in em
Toccata No.6 in gm
Toccata No.7 in G
Play this GRAND.MID bit for a grander "grand" piano sound (afterwards).
I am making these files available now (rather than later) because I have reached a point of diminishing returns in their editing. That is, theoretically the pieces can always come closer still to the way I think they ought to be interpreted --but not by so much that it justifies my spending all that much more effort on it. Although it was fun while it lasted, it's time to work on something else now.
As a point of departure you must understand that I use the SoundBlaster AWE32 card (on a P.120 PC): This card comes with digitally sampled instruments. [I use Master Tracks Pro.]
On other software (provided the hardware is capable of digitally-sampled instruments), if you don't know how to avoid the FM banks of computer-generated instruments try the Midi Mapper (which might have been properly programmed with your card's wave table instruments).
These files are set to a minimum 'stereo' pan. The following set of 'controls' instructions are for the AWE32 card, but users of other cards may deduce the effect I'm after from them...
for the CREATIVE MIXER: set the Treble, Bass, and MIDI Volumes
to their loudest possible settings. Then set MAIN VOLUME to play at your
own particular comfort level. NOTE that the note 'velocities' in these files
are set to the loudest possible setting (whenever and wherever possible).
Set all right/left 'balances' as close as possible to the center.
for the AWE32 CONTROL PANEL: Use the Qsound (not Reverb and Chorus).
for the BOB (break-out box): Make sure all the controller 'boxes' (under the M's) are unchecked... Save this setting to the default.bob file if need be: When any box is 'checked' it interferes with the controller information sent by the midi files for proper playback.
RETURN TO MAIN MIDI
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You can visit me at SDRodrian.com