About this work
This Prelude for organ in G major was likely written during the composer's Arnstadt years (1703-1707) and is thus an early work. Bach served as organist at the Arnstadt Neue Kirche during this period and wrote a substantial amount of organ music in that approximately four-year span. This Prelude, while not one of the composer's more imposing efforts, is nevertheless a worthwhile creation, not least because it exhibits Bach's deft sense for keyboard color and festive moods. Some may charge that the work borders on the bombastic at times, exhibiting less of the composer's contrapuntal skills than is usual in his keyboards works. While there may be some truth in these observations, this Prelude is convincing on its own colorful terms, brimming with regal festivity and brilliant keyboard writing. The glorious main theme is split between statements in big chords and scale-like runs down the keyboard, but the two elements are often imaginatively presented in combination. If some hear the work as a succession of fanfares, they overlook Bach's subtle transformation of the thematic material and his deft sense for atmosphere and color. This Prelude typically lasts three minutes.