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.
The chorale melody set in these two preludes has its
roots in the Gregorian chant repertoire. It is a German
version of the Veni Sancte Spiritus chant. The chorale
would have been sung at Pentecost. The text of the
first verse reads as follows, "Come Holy Ghost, Lord
God, fill with your good mercy the hearts, souls, and
minds of your faithful, igniting them with your burning
love. Oh Lord, through your glowing light you have
gathered to belief this people from all of the world's
tongues. For this you are praised with song.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah." Both of Buxtehude's settings
of the chorale place the chorale melody in the soprano
with a fair amount of embellishment.
Although originally created for Organ, I created this
Interpretation of the Choral Prelude: "Komm heiliger
Geist, Herre Gott" (BuxWV 200) for String Quartet (2
Violins, Viola & Cello).