J S Bach Pre­lude In D Mi­nor

Brid­get Mermikides ar­ranges and tran­scribes another mag­i­cal piece from the reper­toire of ge­nius com­poser Bach: his de­light­ful Pre­lude In D Mi­nor.

Guitar Techniques - - PLAY: CLASSICAL -

This monTh we re­turn to the work of Jo­hann se­bas­tian Bach (1685-1750) who, although not widely recog­nised or suc­cess­ful dur­ing his hard-work­ing life­time, is now gen­er­ally con­sid­ered one of the great­est com­posers of all time. Bach’s mas­tery of coun­ter­point (the abil­ity to bal­ance many si­mul­ta­ne­ous melodies and com­plex har­monies) has been a source of ad­mi­ra­tion – and in­spi­ra­tion – to count­less mu­si­cians for over 300 years. Bach was a vir­tu­oso mul­ti­in­stru­men­tal­ist and an in­cred­i­bly pro­duc­tive com­poser, cre­at­ing hun­dreds of works of pro­found tech­ni­cal skill and ex­pres­sive power. he de­serves as much as any­one the moniker of ‘mu­si­cal ge­nius’.

This month we tackle Bach’s BwV999 Pre­lude in C mi­nor (trans­posed here as it of­ten is for guitar to D mi­nor). The ori­gins of the work are un­clear but it was com­posed when Bach was around his late 20s (by which point his in­cred­i­ble skill and work ethic was well es­tab­lished). it was most prob­a­bly writ­ten for solo lute, but it is also part of the harpsichord (and pi­ano) reper­toire. how­ever, its char­ac­ter­is­tic arpeg­giated pat­terns (with bassline fig­ures) have found a very nat­u­ral home in the clas­si­cal guitar reper­toire. As far as i can tell this is thanks to An­dres se­govia’s tran­scrip­tion of the piece (and trans­po­si­tion from C mi­nor to D mi­nor) re­leased on Christo­pher Parken­ing’s in The Clas­sic style (An­gel 1969) and per­formed by se­govia on the 1969 ever­est al­bum, The Ge­nius of An­drés se­govia - A Bach Recital.

This piece is a pre­lude, which for Bach is gen­er­ally a short and rel­a­tively sim­pler move­ment pre­ced­ing a longer and more com­plex fugue. Bach’s pre­ludes tend to fol­low a gen­er­ally re­peat­ing pat­tern through chang­ing har­mony (see GT216 and GT230)

JS Bach: rare and gen­uine mu­si­cal ge­nius

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