Post-Worship Treat for May 9, 2021

Post-Worship Treat for May 9, 2021

May 9, 2021

William McCorkle, on the C. B. Fisk pipe organ, opus 128 Prelude in G Major (BuxWV147) by the German master musician, Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707) “Prelude” (or Buxtehude’s Latin “Praeludium”) is one of a number of common words used as titles for musical compositions, words which have no specific meaning. The meaning of this title (“Praeludium”) is: something to be played for (=in the presence of) people, not in advance of, or preceding any event. It’s likely that many of Buxtehude’s magnificent organ preludes began as improvisations and then found written form later. The designation BuxWV refers to the catalog of Buxtehude’s compositions compiled by scholars in the late twentieth century. It’s an abbreviation of Buxtehude-Werke-Verzeichnis (Buxtehude Works Catalog), with a system of numbering by categories (organ; vocal; instrumental chamber….) but not by chronology (rarely known precisely and often difficult to determine). BuxWV147 is a short work, beginning, typically, with a flourish, in this case with a solo passage of the pedals interspersed with a decorated chordal fanfare in the hands. An imitative fugal section follows, easing into a final exuberant flourish. While not as expansive or multi-sectional as many of the great preludes, it is a lovely representation of Buxtehude’s gifts as a player and a composer.

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