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.
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