Prelude for Organ

Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude for Organ in A minor


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.