The organ loft is visible at the top of the picture. The chorale preludes form the first of Bach’s masterpieces for ach wir armen leute pdf with a mature compositional style in marked contrast to his previous compositions for the instrument. A further step towards perfecting this form was taken by Bach when he made the contrapuntal elements in his music a means of reflecting certain emotional aspects of the words.
And it is entering into it, and not a mere depicting of it. Here Bach has realised the ideal of the chorale prelude. The method is the most simple imaginable and at the same time the most perfect. Nowhere is the Dürer-like character of his musical style so evident as in these small chorale preludes. Simply by the precision and the characteristic quality of each line of the contrapuntal motive he expresses all that has to be said, and so makes clear the relation of the music to the text whose title it bears.
Title page of the Orgelbüchlein. Nechsten, draus sich zu belehren. In which a beginning organist receives given instruction as to performing a chorale in a multitude of ways while achieving mastery in the study of the pedal, since in the chorales contained herein the pedal is treated entirely obbligato. That my fellow man his skill may hone.
They indicate that already at the age of 15 Bach was an accomplished organist, playing some of the most demanding repertoire of the period. Bach was appointed as organist at St. 1703, having inspected and reported on the organ there earlier in the year. Lübeck, a pilgrimage he famously made on foot. In 1707 Bach became organist at St. Weimar in 1708 as concertmaster and organist, where he remained until 1717. Only a few other organ works based on chorales can be dated with any certainty to this period.
These include the chorale partitas BWV 766-768 and 770, all sets of variations on a given chorale. The type of chorale prelude to which this refers, often called the “Arnstadt type”, were used to accompany the congregation with modulating improvisatory sections between the verses: examples that are presumed to be of this form include BWV 715, 722, 726, 729, 732 and 738. It dates from 1705 and possibly was prepared for Bach’s visit to Lübeck. The Orgelbüchlein is simultaneously a compositional treatise, a collection of liturgical organ music, an organ method, and a theological statement. These four identities are so closely intertwined that it is hard to know where one leaves off and another begins. They are in four parts, with three accompanying voices. They begin directly with the cantus, either with or without accompaniment.