Prelude for Organ

Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude for Organ in A minor

BWV569

About this work

This work is believed to have been written at around the time Bach accepted the post of court organist in Weimar under the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar. During his tenure there (1708-1717), he continued to write many organ and other keyboard works, further evolving his masterful style. This Prelude, while not a major achievement, is nonetheless a quite worthwhile effort that exhibits the composer's routine mastery in thematic transformation and variation. The Prelude begins with a lively, repeating four-note motif, which Bach then treats to a sort of variations process. Throughout the piece, the motif repeats in a mostly descending pattern, and because this method of unfolding and transforming can sound repetitive, the organist generally imparts a sense of animation to the music and highlights significant detail in Bach's brilliant contrapuntal writing. The mood of the work is made up of a mixture of the glorious and the busy, the intense and the radiant. Near the end, the Prelude takes on a majestic sort of sense as waves of sustained chords usher along the final, powerful statements of the motif. This approximately five-minute Prelude will offer considerable appeal to Baroque and organ music aficionados.

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