Dutch organist Gert van Hoef performs Johann Sebastian Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D-minor, BWV 565. The piece is Bach’s signature work for organ solo. Performed on the organ at the church Stephanuskerk at Hasselt, Netherlands. The organ was built in 1802.

Young Dutch organist Gert van Hoef performs Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D-minor, BWV 565.
Performed on the organ at the church Stephanuskerk at Hasselt, Netherlands, which was built in 1802. After some alterations, it was recently restored to its original specifications, but with the addition of independent pedal ranks. The church was built in 1446, with the tower being rebuilt in 1752 after lightning caused a fire that destroyed the tower, along with the carillon and organ.

J. S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor

The Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565, is a piece of organ music written by Johann Sebastian Bach. First published in 1833 through the efforts of Felix Mendelssohn, the piece quickly became popular, and is now one of the most famous works in the organ repertoire.

The piece is characterized by grand, cathedral-like architecture. Pedal points provide the foundation, strettos engrave recurring design motifs on the architraves that join immense columns of sound, quirky modulations form spandrels at the ends of phrases, blue notes spout from the gargoyles guarding the rails of free-form episodes-episodes that form a fan-vault over the chords; subject and counter-subject weave rood-screens between the main formal sections, the fugue rules square the structure in balanced harmony, and striking modal colors provide illumination through the clerestory windows of Bach’s imagination.

Since the 1970s, though, some scholars have challenged the attribution of the piece to Bach (see “Sources” section below). These included but were not limited to, the following, all either unique or extremely rare for organ music of the period the toccata is allegedly from:

  • Parallel octaves throughout the opening of the toccata
  • True subdominant answers in the fugue
  • A pedal statement of the subject, unaccompanied by other voices
  • Primitive harmonies throughout the piece, with countersubjects in the fugue frequently moving through thirds and sixths only
  • Conclusion of the piece on a minor plagal cadence

Gert van Hoef

Gert van Hoef performs Bach's Toccata and Fugue
Gert van Hoef performs Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D-minor, BWV 565.

Gert van Hoef was born on June 17, 1994 in Barneveld. At the age of 13 he received his first organ lessons from his grandfather.

In June 2008 Gert started to study with Mrs. Daamen, organist and choir accompanist in Barneveld.

In 2010 he studied for 18 months with Evert van de Veen, organist in Voorthuizen. During this period his musicality flourished and he developed his repertoire both in breadth and depth.

Gert was already regularly asked for performances and concerts across the country. Even from abroad people showed interest in the young organist. This will be partly due to the many videos that Gert posted on YouTube from the very beginning of his musical career.

In June 2010, on the occasion of his 16th birthday, he was offered a DVD recording on the famous Moreau organ in the Sint-Janskerk in Gouda. In this month he was also appointed organist in the church of the Reformed community in Voorthuizen.

Since September 2011, Gert received organ lessons from the Amersfoort organist Herman van Vliet, who prepared him for his conservatory studies. In that period he also became the regular organist of the Emined organ showroom in De Punt in Voorthuizen. Their first commercial DVD was recorded there.

In September 2013, he started studying organ with Jos van der Kooij at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He received his organ lessons in the Westerkerk in Amsterdam. He also studies music theory, music history and choral conducting with the Dutch / Italian opera conductor Giacomo Formentini.

In addition to his Conservatory studies, Gert gave many organ concerts throughout the country.

Also private or public birthday or anniversary concerts.

In 2015 he gave his first foreign concerts in Stoke-on-Trent and London.

In June 2017, Gert took his final exam for his ‘Bachelor’ degree in music (organ) at the majestic ‘Müller’ organ of the St. Bavo Church in Haarlem. The jury was very impressed and awarded him a score of 8.5 points (out of 10).

In the summer of 2018, Gert completed his studies at the conservatory and obtained his final diploma.

Sources

M. Özgür Nevres

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