Alla breve pro organo pleno

Johann Sebastian Bach

Alla breve pro organo pleno in D major


About this work

This work probably dates to the early part of Bach's Weimar years (1708 - 1717), when he was in the service of the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar. Bach was the court organist and had many duties, mostly in regard to church service. He wrote a great number of organ works during this period, probably including this glorious Alla breve, a work of considerable interest, even if some have raised doubts about its authorship. Whoever its composer was -- and Bach seems the likeliest candidate -- the work is fully convincing in its ecstatic and grandiose sonorities. While alla breve means a fast double time, or put simply, a 2/2 time instead of a 4/4 time signature, this work does not have a lively tempo. Indeed, the work presents the glorious main theme at a deliberate pace in the soprano range, which is then completed in the middle register by the left hand, which initially provided accompaniment. The contrapuntal writing throughout is brilliantly conceived and the mood never veers from a sense of triumph, from a serene, if regal and resplendent peace. While this may not be a major masterwork, it is well crafted and fully deserving greater attention. This work typically lasts seven or eight minutes.