Dietrich Buxtehude

Prelude in G Minor

BuxWV. 163

About this work

This Praeludium in G minor is one of the two manualiter (manuals only, no pedal part required) praeludia by Buxtehude. It is in seven clearly defined sections, three fugal sections framed by four free toccata-like sections. The three fugue subjects are not thematically related as is often the case in Buxtehude's praeludia, but typical of him he writes each one in a different meter, the first in 12/8, the second in common time, and the third in 12/16. Though this piece does not require pedals and thereby lacks the grandeur of a bold bass, this work competes in scope and content with even the larger pedaliter (with pedals) praeludia of Buxtehude. The passagework employed in the free sections works well on the organ, but also sounds very good on the harpsichord. The ending of this praeludia is particularly interesting and quirky. After building up a full head of steam with all kinds of wild rushing passage work, Buxtehude ends with a strange feint on the second half of the first beat of the final measure after a sixteenth note rest on the down beat.