Prelude & Fugue

Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude & Fugue in A major


About this work

The Prelude and Fugue in A major is not very well known, but it is still an interesting and well-written work. The relative simplicity and brevity (32 measures) of the Prelude, together with the seamless counterpoint of the Fugue, make them ideal for service music as a prelude and postlude.

The Prelude opens with an arpeggiated figure that recalls Buxtehude's Praeludium in D major, BuxWV 139. This motive forms the backbone of the piece, reappearing most noticeably at the end. In between this framework, several dance-like motives are developed, and some wonderful effects are created by the dialogues between the four voices.

The Fugue, with its eight-measure ostinato subject, the rocking motion of the countersubject and the accompanying eigth-note figurations in the other voices, has a smooth, triple-time dance feel. This effect is heightened by the numerous stretti which occur throughout the section. After the final entrance of the subject in the pedal, a syncopated figure in the soprano carries the motion forward to the final, picardy third chord.