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.
Like the Praeludium, BuxWV 144, this praeludium looks
much more like a prelude and fugue than the typical
Buxtehude praeludium. The free toccata-like section
comes to a full stop before the fugue begins, but the
fugue does break down into free rhapsodic material for
the last five bars of the piece. Both the opening free
section and the fugue are much longer than usual and
with its 127 measures, it is as long as most five- or
seven-section Buxtehude praeludia. The opening free
section could be considered a conglomeration of several
sections. The time signature changes three times in
this section. The fugue is also unusual in that it has
a relatively long subject. At six measures long, it is
much longer than the typical one- or two-measure
subject in the Buxtehude repertoire.
I created this Interpretation of the Prelude & Fugue in
F Major (BuxWV 145) for String Quartet (2 Violins,
Viola & Cello).