Dietrich Buxtehude is probably most familiar to modern
classical music audiences as the man who inspired the
young Johann Sebastian Bach to make a lengthy
pilgrimage to Lubeck, Buxtehude's place of employment
and residence for most of his life, just to hear
Buxtehude play the organ. But Buxtehude was a major
figure among German Baroque composers in his own right.
Though we do not have copies of much of the work that
most impressed his contemporaries, Buxtehude
nonetheless left behind a body of vocal and
instrumental music which is distinguished by its
contrapuntal skill, devotional atmosphere, and raw
intensity. He helped develop the form of the church
cantata, later perfected by Bach, and he was just as
famous a virtuoso on the organ.
This praeludium in A major is in four sections: two
free toccata-like sections, and two fugues. The first
toccata-like section is the more substantial of the two
free sections. It features some of Buxtehude's wildest
spasmodic passage work. Of the two fugues, the first is
also the most substantial. It appears to be a double
fugue at the outset, but the first of the two subjects
fades out leaving what appeared to be the secondary
subject as the true subject of the fugue. The second
fugue works its way right to the conclusion rather than
giving way to rhapsodic material as Buxtehude usually
does in his fugues.
I created this Interpretation of the Praeludium in A
Major (BuxWV 151) for Woodwind Quartet (Flute, Oboe,
English Horn & Bassoon).