This prelude is included in the collection of 8 Short Preludes and Fugues, BWV 553-560. Earlier it was thought that the composer was Johann Sebastian Bach but currently scientists believe they might have been written by Johann Ludwig Krebs, one of Bach's most talented and accomplished students.
The prelude is written in a classical ternary ABA form with exact recapitulation at the end. By the way, the final cadence of section A reminds very much the opening phrase of the choral "Jesu, meine Freude".
In section A (measure 1-6), composer establishes the tonic key of D minor and shows the first musical idea of the work. The texture varies between 4 and 5 parts (6 parts at the beginning of the 2nd measure) so anyone interested in learning it will do well to practice all 15 combinations of solo voices, 2-part and 3-part combinations before putting everything together.
The first episode in section B (measures 7-12) is written for 3 upper parts without the pedal. Here the composer explores a few compositional devices such as runs in the left hand, descending sequence and right hand suspentions. They lead to a cadence in F major (the relative key of D minor).
In the second half of section B (measures 13-24) we can see the ascending chromatic sequence which moves through various related keys, namely B flat major, C major, and D minor.
In fact, the entire episode is constructed from sequences because right after this ascending version, we can see two descending versions (in 4-part texture and in 3-part texture) which lead to the scalar passage connecting section B with recapitulation (measures 25-31).
The most common mistakes I see people make when practicing this prelude is playing it without paying too much attention to detail which results in a sloppy articulation because the texture might be too complicated to play all parts together right away.
Playing without forcing oneself to stop frequently and correct the mistakes a few times is another mistake which slows down the progress of an organist and even might result in unnecessary frustration.
I have prepared a score of this composition with complete fingering and pedaling written in which greatly facilitates practicing and learning process of this exciting work.
By the way, do you want to learn my special powerful techniques which help me to master any piece of organ music up to 10 times faster? If so, download my video Organ Practice Guide.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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