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Preludes, Fantasias, Toccatas & Fugues BWV 531-540
General Discussions - Part 1

Monthly Discussion February 2009 - Preludes, Fantasias, Toccatas & Fugues BWV 531-540

Terejia wrote (February 1, 2009):
Introducing BWV 531-540 (and additionally introducing myself)

I joined this list today and this is my first post here. My name is Terejia. I joined Bach Cantata Mailing List as of November 2006 and experienced taking the role of discussion leader last December in BCML. I am an amateur organist playing the organ regularly on Sunday. Since this list is "a sister list" to BCML, I will write detailed introduction of myself at the bottom so that BCML members can skip reading it.

Now my modest introduction of BWV 531-540.

I'd like to give a link which has commentar of these works and recording sample by the author himself :

Fortunately, I found that all the works being introduced are those I have firsthand experience-either I attended live concert / listened to being played as a prelude or postlude in Sunday services and / or I performed the piece myself. As I have limited reference to hand (by the way, not only references but also and more importantly very limited capacity and ability), except for the link above, all I can write is what was written in the concert program that I attended or something my organ teacher commented in my organ lesson.

We could feel vivid traces/influence of Buxtehude in the example of (but not only limited to ) BWV 531,532, 533,535, 536 in the fast toccata like passage in their preludes.

In BWV537 fugue chromatic upward scale is one of the attractiveness. About BWV 539 d-moll fugue, many audience would notice that the violin partita BWV 1001 has the same fugue in G-moll. Speaking from organ playing perspective, I cannot help believing in that this piece must have been meant for violin, simply because its fingering feels demanding too much unnatural movements for keyboard players.

BWV 538 is D-moll, and this is often referred to as Dorian. I lack knowledge in describing precisely what Dorian is : If it is D-moll it is supposed to have one flat whereas organ score has no flat, despite the harmony starts and ends with D-moll tonica harmony. Well, this is no explanation at all but that's all my current ability allows me including reference citing ability. The link below has better explanation. Additionally, it refers to alla breve of fugue in BWV 538 and 540:,_BWV_538

Now I noticed I skipped BWV 534-f-moll piece. The f-moll 5 voices of fugue is alla breve along with the fugue BWV 538 and 540 mentioned in the link above. Personally, I tend to feel solemnity when rhythm is alla breve. What I can think of off-hand right now is "Gratias agimus tibi" "Dona nobis pacem" "Credo" in b-minor Mass BWV 232.

This list is about Recording list and although I did listened to several recordings, I'd like to take another time during this month to comment on recordings. Mostly I listen to in Naxos Library but I have some recordings, too.

Lastly I'd like to introduce myself to those whom I meet first time on this list. I am a Japanese solicitor. I completed my legal internship last December and now I am self-employed as a solicitor. I got my first job as a solicitor yesterday. I have no formal music education. I have had and still having private organ lessons from professional organ teachers, some of whom are music university professors. In Japan, churches that have pipeorgan usually invites professional organ teachers for the organists. In Japan, churches cannot afford hiring professional organists, hence an amateur like myself can be a regular organist.

I also learned harpschicord solo and chamber music general bass in:

In this instution, in which once Mr. Masaaki Suzuki used to be a regular organ teacher. Unfortunately, I never have had chance of taking organ lessons from him.

Due to the fact that I do not have formal music education and that in Japan we often encounter difficulity in obtaining classical music CDs, scores and references, I know some of you will find my introduction lacking precision or fall short of academic standard. Hence, when I was a discussion leader in BCML, I was greatly helped by those who acted as "de-facto-co-discussion-leaders" with me, which seem to have been both fruitful and enjoyable in its own way. Not that I request for co-discussion-leaders to volunteer here(although it would be great also) but I only wish to make a point that this is my own style best suited to my current circumstances all in all.

I'm in the learning process and I'd like to learn a lot from this list. Many thanks to Aryeh who gave me this chance of leading discussion and also John Pike, who encouraged me to join this list. I am glad to be here.

John Pike wrote (February 1, 2009):
[To Terejia] Well done, Terejia. A nice introduction to some great works and to yourself as well. Many thanks.

Joshua Klasinski wrote (February 1, 2009):
[To Terejia] Thanks for the introduction Terejia! Bach's organ works are some of my favorite pieces of music and it is nice to hear from someone who plays the organ and must approach western music from a different perspective, being as you are from Japan!

May your stay on this forum be fruitful and a great learning experience.

Anne (Nessie) Russell wrote (February 1, 2009):
[To Terejia] Thank you for your introduction to these works Terejia. It is great to have another organist on the list.

I am currently listening to Bernard Legacé play these Preludes and Fugues. I am enjoying them. I don't have anything to compare them with. I have very few organ recordings. I working on getting more. I would like to hear which organist others like in these works.

Terejia wrote (February 4, 2009):

Thank you John, Josh and Anne for warm welcome. I beg your pardon here that I should have said "thank you " earlier. Were it not for the fact that another entirely different type of mailing list (our district will host Nationwide Convention of Solicitors and I am a member of Convention Committee. As Convention approaches, which takes place as of 28th this month, the traffic of the list is getting heavier and members have to pay very close attention to the mail, because assignments and meeting notices will come at any time) plus my first job keep me tied up-and more importantly made me mentally overwhelmed, I could visit this site more frequently...

In Japan, we had FM radio broadcasting Koopman organ recital. Firstly he played Buxtehude and the latter part of the program was Bach. None of the piece from BWV 531-540 was part of the program, but when he played Buxtehude, it made me realize how Buxtehude's north Germany style-i.e. lively pedals and/or fast passage of 1/32 notes-is influencing some of these works. For me, it is good that crystal sounds of organ gave me feeling of much comfort in this stressful busy time.

As for recordings, although I do suppose that organ as an instrument plays an important part along with the performer in organ performance, I do not know much about organ instruments. I play Swedish pipeorgan with 22 stops and I love the organ.


Preludes, Fanta, Toccatas & Fugues BWV 531-540: Details
General Discussions:
Part 1

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