Eight short preludes & fugues attributed to J. S. Bach (BWV 553–560)

These days the ‘eight short preludes and fugues’ BWV 553–560 are no longer judged – for stylistic reasons  – to be by Bach himself (Durr, Lohmann, William), although for now they still retain their place in the Bach Werke Verzeichnis – the official catalogue of  Bach’s works. 

The first page of BWV 553. [Source: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin ‘D-B Mus.ms. Bach P 281’]
History
The earliest surviving source of ‘the eight’ is contained within a single volume made from five separately copied manuscripts that comprise 12 keyboard works. It has been suggested tentatively that the scribe of ‘the eight’ in this volume was Bach’s great-nephew J. C. G.  Bach  (1747–1814) and that subsequently the volume was in the possession of J. S. Bach’s last pupil J. C. Kittel (1732–1809) (Lohmann, Williams). This manuscript was latterly owned by Georg Poelchau (1773–1836), an avid collector of Bach manuscripts. Since 1841 it has been in the collection of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin as ‘D-B Mus.ms. Bach P 281’. Apart from ‘the eight’ the other keyboard works in the Poelchau manuscript are all reliably by Bach: BWV 913.2; 718; 916; 735.1. 

A now-lost manuscript of ‘the eight’ – scribe unknown –  was once owned by Bach biographer J.N. Forkel (1749–1818) and then by a promoter of Bach’s work  F. C. Griepenkerl (1782–1849). It was used to produce the 1852 C. F. Peters (Leipzig) edition of ‘the eight’ and is likely to have been a copy of Poelchau’s manuscript. (Durr)

Style
BWV 553–560
makes use of various keyboard forms common in Bach’s time, e.g. Italian concerto (no.1); durezze (no.3); neo-galant (no. 4); toccata (no.5); southern fugal styles (nos. 1, 4, & 5). (Williams).

NB The sequence of each piece’s tonic note forms the Mixolydian mode.

Performance
The attraction of this collection is not only that individual movements are useful in liturgical settings but also that the set, when played complete, makes a pleasing and varied baroque-period  concert item.

When preparing to perform these eight pieces, particularly as a complete set, it is useful to take account of eighteenth-century theories concerning the different emotional character (affecct) of different musical keys.  In this instance it is the ideas of Johann Mattheson (1681–1764) – first promulgated in 1713 – that inform.

  • BWVV 554: prelude & fugue in Dm

    Mattheson on D-minor: … somewhat devout and calm, at the same time affecting, agreeable, and expressive of contentment … for the furthering of devotion in the church … ‘skipping’ music must not be written in it, whereas flowing music will be very successful.

BWV 555: prelude & fugue in Em [sound file soon]
Mattheson on E-minor: Whatever one may do with it, it will remain pensive, profound, sad, and expressive of grief in such a way that some chance of consolation remains.

BWV 556: prelude & fugue in F [sound file soon]
Mattheson on F-major: … capable of expressing the most beautiful sentiments … generosity, steadfastness, love, or whatever else may be high on the list of virtues. It is natural and unforced when used to express such affects. It compares to a handsome person who looks good whatever he may do and who has, as the French say, ‘bonne grace’. 

BWV 557: prelude & fugue in G [sound file soon]
Mattheson on G-major: … insinuating and persuasive … somewhat brilliant and suited to the expression of serious as well as joyful affects. 

BWV 558: prelude & fugue in Gm [sound file soon]
Mattheson on G-minor: … almost the most beautiful key … rather serious combined with spirited loveliness, uncommon grace and affability … it lends itself well and flexibly both to moderate plaintiveness and tempered joy. 

BWV 559: prelude & fugue in Am [sound file soon]
Mattheson on A-minor: … somewhat plaintive, modest  and relaxed … relaxing but not disagreeably so.

BWV 560: prelude & fugue in Bb [sound file soon]
Mattheson on Bb-major: … very diverting and showy … it can pass as both magnificent and graceful … it elevates the soul to greater things. 

References

    • Johann Christoph Georg Bach‘.  The New Grove Bach Family by Christoph Wolff (London: MacMillan, 1983). “Bach Cantatas Website” (2006). Online resource accessed 22 October 2022.
    • D-B Mus.ms. Bach P 281. Online resource accessed 25 October 2022.
    • Alfred Duur. ‘Introduction’. “Johann Sebastian Bach: Acht kleine Präludien und Fugen”. Series: Barenreitr Urtext.  (Kassel ; London : Bärenreiter 1990)
    • Eight Short Preludes and Fugues‘. Wikipedia. Online resource accessed 20 October 2022.
    • Johann Nikolaus Forkel. Wikipedia. Online resource accessed 20 October 2022.
    • Friedrich Konrad Griepenkerl. Wikipedia. Online resource accessed 20 October 2022.
    • Heinz Lohmann. ‘Introductory Notes’. “Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750): 8 Little Preludes and Fugues BWV 553-560″. (Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1974). [ Publisher’s inspection copy. Online resource, accessed 29 Oct0ber 2022. ] 
    • Johann  Mattheson. Wikipedia. Online resource accessed 20 October 2022.
    • Johann Mattheson. Das Neu-Eröffnete Orchestre (Hamburg: Benjamin Schillers Witwe, 1713), as discussed in Hans Lenneberg ‘Johann Mattheson on Affect and Rhetoric in Music’. Journal of Music Theory, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Nov., 1958), pp. 193-236. 234-36. (Online resource from Internet Archive, accessed 13 November 2022.)
    • Peter Williams. The Organ Music of J. S. Bach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)
    • Georg Poelchau‘. Wikipedia. Online resource accessed 22 October 2022. [In German]
  • Technical notes.
    – Edition: Johann Sebastian Bach Acht kleine Präludien und Fugen. Series: Barenreitr Urtext.  (Kassel ; London : Bärenreiter 1990)
    – Temperament: Werckmeister III; pitch A=440

    – Organ: Viscount Sonus 60
    – Microphone: Zoom Q2N-4K
    – Recordings: ©Andrew Pink (2022). All rights reserved.

    Creative Commons licence: [Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International]

#TheOrganShow, #InternationalOrganDay, #bach, @Bach330

Exordia ad missam

The following exordia ad missam (tr. preludes to the mass) are short and mostly meditative pieces that I recorded during the UK’s various Covid-related restrictions of 2020–22 for use as part of live-streamed church services.  For some of my other lockdown recordings go to: J. S. Bach’s ‘Orgelbüchlein’ : my lockdown recordings.

Recordings©Andrew Pink. 
Material on this page is published under the Creative Commons licence
(CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) : Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International. All rights reserved.

Emma Louise Ashford (1850–1930) 

Andrew Pink performs (2022) ‘Melody in B-flat: allegretto ma non troppo’ (The Organist Vol. 2/iv 1898)

Nadia Boulanger

Nadia Boulanger (1887–1979)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) ‘Inprovisation (Trois Improvisations. 1911–12)

Kate Boundy (1863–1913)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) ‘Even Song‘ (The Village Organist. Vol. 11. 1898)

 Luigi Bottazzo (1845–1924)

Andrew Pink performs (2022) ‘Invocazione alla Regina della Pace‘. Raccolta di Sette Pezzi. Op.289. 1917)

Maude Campbell-Jansen (1884-1958) in 1910

Maude Campbell-Jansen (1888-1954)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) Meditation (1928). 

Hedwige Chrétien (1859–1944)

Andrew Pink performs (2022) ‘Musette‘ from Harmonies Religieuses: à l’usage du service divin. (Series ‘Echos des organistes contemporains’ Vol 3 . 1922)

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) ‘Melody’ (Three Short Pieces. 1898). 

Elisa Delaye-Fuchs (1872–?)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) ‘Pièce en La bémol majeur‘ Op. 25 (Maîtres contemporains de l’orgue. Vol. 5. 1914. 93–94)

Jeanne Demessieux (1921–68)

Andrew Pink performs (2020) ‘Rorate caeli‘ (Twelve Choral-Preludes on Gregorian Themes. Op. 8. 1947) . 

Théodore Dubois (1837–1924)

Andrew PInk performs (2021) ‘Adoration‘ (42 Pièces pour Orgue ou Harmonium. c.1915. Op. Posth. 1925)

Marcel Dupré  (1886–1971)

Andrew Pink performs (2020) ‘Alma redemptoris mater‘ (Eight Short Preludes on Gregorian Themes. Op 45. 1958).

Robert Evans (c.1949–.)

Andrew Pink plays Divertimento for a Keyoboard: Allegro Energico (2014)

William Faulkes (1863–1933)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) ‘Idylle in D-flat major’ (William Faulkes: Compositions for the Organ. 1902)

Eugénie-Emilie Juliette Folville (1879–1946)Eugénie-Emilie Juliette Folville (1870–1946)

Andrew Pink performs (2022) ‘Verset sur le thème du “Tantum”, 6e ton’ (Maîtres contemporains del’orgue, Vol.3. 1912)

César Franck (1822–90)César Franck (1822–90)

Andrew Pink performs (2022) ‘Prélude pour l’Ave Maris Stella: andantino quasi allegretto’, 1858–63. (No. 28 in Pièces posthumes, ed. Georges Franck, 1905. )

Harvey Grace (1874–1944)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) ‘Cradle Song’ (Ten Compositions for the Organ. 1922) 

Walter Battison Haynes (1859–1900)Walter Battison Haynes (1859–1900)

Andrew Pink performs ‘Meditation in G: Introductory Voluntary‘ in The Village Organist (Vol. 1, Book 4,  1897)

Paul HIndemith (1895–1963)

Andrew Pink performs (2022) ‘Ruhig bewegt’ (Sonate 2, 1937)

Peter Hurford (1930–2019)

Andrew PInk performs (2022) ‘Wem in Leidenstagen(Five Short Chorale Preludes, 1958)

Joseph Jongen (1873–1953)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) Petit Prélude (1937)

Jean Langlais (1907–91)

Andrew Pink performs (2020) ‘Interlude’ (Three Characteristic Pieces, 1957).

 

John Lee (1908–90)

Andrew Pink performs (2022) ‘Ecce panis angelorum’ Ten Organ Preludes for Liturgical Services. No 9. (1939)

Louis James Alfred Lefébure-Wely (1817–69)Louis J. A. Lefébure-Wely  (1817–69)

Andrew Pink performs (2022) ‘Andante: choeur de voix humaines‘ (Meditaciones religiosas op. 122/vii. 1858).

Kate Loder (1825–1904) Kate Loder (1825–1904)

Andrew Pink performs (2020) ‘Voluntary in B-flat‘ (Six Easy Voluntaries. Second set. 1891). ” … for the most part fresh and genial in character […] somewhat suggestive of Spohr in the numerous chromatic progressions.” (Musical Times. Vol. 32, No. 579 (May  1, 1891), p. 297). 

Robert–Charles Martin (1877–1949)

Andrew Pink performs (2022) Élévation (Parnasse des Organistes … First series, vol.1. 1911)

Olivier Messiaen (1908–92)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) Le Banquet Céleste (1928)

Andrew Moore (b.1954)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) Hymn-prelude ‘Bunessan’ (1996)

Ann Mounsey (1811–91)Ann Mounsey-Bartholomew (1811–1891)

Andrew Pink performs (2022) ‘Andante’ (The Village Organist. First Series, vol 2. 1872)

henri mulet in 1911Henri Mulet (1878–1967)

Andrew Pink performs (2020) ‘Noel’ (Esquisses Byzantines, 1920).

Max Oesten (1843–1917).

Andrew Pink performs (2021) ‘Christmas(Festival Times. Op 205/i, 1899).

Flor PeetersFlor Peeters (1903–86)

Andrew Pink performs (2020) ‘Fantasie Inviolata‘ (Four Improvisations on Gregorian Melodies. Op.6/iv, 1946).

Incipit inviolata

Jean-Marie Plum OSM (1898–1944)

Andrew Pink performs ‘Bénédiction nuptiale(Messe de mariage. Op.56/ii. Pub. posth, Paris. 1955)

Marie Prestat (1862–1933)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) ‘Offrande à la Vierge: Alma redemptoris mater (Maîtres contemporains de l’orgue. Vol.4..  Paris: 1914)

florence price Florence Price (1887–1953)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) Adoration (1951)

Noel RawsthorneNoel Rawsthorne (1929–2019)

Andrew Pink performs:(2020) ‘Interlude in C‘ (Adagio Collection, 1999)

Alec Rowley (1892-1958) Alec Rowley (1892–1958).

Andrew PInk performs (2021) ‘Picardy‘ (A Book of Hymn Tune Voluntaries [by various]. 1950)

Blanche Rozan (fl.1900–12)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) ‘Petite Prière: assez lentement’ (Maîtres contemporains de l’orgueVol. 2.. Paris: 1912)

Léonce de Saint-Martin (1886–

1954)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) ‘Interlude de Grand Orgue pour l’Élévation: infiniment calme‘ (Mass in E-minor, Op.13. 1932)

 Hermann Schroeder (1904–84).

Andrew PInk performs (2021) ‘Allegretto‘ (Kleine Präludien und IntermezziOp. 9. 1932)

Franz SchubertFranz Schubert (1797–1828)

Andrew Pink performs (2022) ‘Ave Maria’ (Ellens Gesang III, D. 839/vi. 1825), arr. Andrew Pink (2022)

Quentin Thomas (b. 1972)

Andrew Pink performs (2021) ‘Prelude on St Columba’ (1996)

Ralph Vaughan Williams c.1921Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958)

Andrew Pink performs (2022) ‘Eventide‘ (from Two Hymn Tune Preludes for small orchestra (1936), arranged for organ (1938) by Herbert Sumsion (1899–1995)

 René Vierne (1878–1918)

Andrew Pink performs (2022) ‘Élévation’ (Archives de l’Organiste, vol 4. 1910)

Techincal notes
– Temperament: Equal; pitch A=440
– Organ: Viscount Sonus 60
– Microphone: Zoom Q2N-4K
– Recordings: ©Andrew Pink. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons licence: [Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International]

#TheOrganShow #InternationalOrganDay #SWORCOWomanComposerSunday #FemaleComposerChallenge #WomanComposerSunday #rvw150
@SWomenOrganists #InternationalWomensDay @rvw150

J. S. Bach’s ‘Orgelbüchlein’ (BWV 599–644)

J S BachJ. S. Bach’s Orgelbüchlein (BWV 599–644) is a collection of short organ pieces that he composed over several decades from 1704 onwards. Bach’s idea  was to assemble 164 works in a variety of styles, all based on pre-existing Lutheran hymn-tunes, and arranged according to the Church’s calendar. The collection would serve Bach not only in church services but also in his teaching. Alas, the project remained incomplete at the composer’s death.
      I made these recordings during the UK’s various Covid-related restrictions of 2020–22. For some of my other lockdown recordings go to: Exordia ad missam’: my lockdown recordings.

Recordings ©Andrew Pink.
Material on this page is published under the Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) : Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International. All rights reserved.

Advent

Christmas

Epiphany

Purification

Passiontide

Easter

Pentecost

Catechism

General

  • Technical notes.
    – Edition: Johann Sebastian Bach Orgelbüchlein. Series: Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke. IV/i (Kassel ; London : Bärenreiter 1987)
    – Temperament: Werckmeister III; pitch A=440

    – Organ: Viscount Sonus 60
    – Microphone: Zoom Q2N-4K
    – Recordings: ©Andrew Pink. All rights reserved.

    Creative Commons licence: [Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International]

#TheOrganShow, #InternationalOrganDay #orgelbuchlein #Orgelbüchlein
@Bach330 @OrgelbuchleinP