​Musical Musings~ Reflections on Sunday’s Music

September 28, 2014
  1.  A take on  the nicknames of Johann Sebastian Bach's Prelude and Fugue in E Minor (BWV 533)
Today's postlude certainly dates from Bach's Arnstadt period and is thus considered one of the composer's earlier works for the organ. Normally, a prelude and fugue comprises of a slower section followed by a fast section, however in this work circumstances have changed.  The prelude begins with vibrant passagio , developing significant intensity and drama which then shift to echo-like phrases.  After the pedal line in tenths, the slow (not fast!) counterpoint-laden fugue follows.
Now to the nicknames- The mordent on the opening notes of the fugue represents the "Night Watchman," which could possibly represent the presence of God protecting us or the presence of safety. Robert Cummings offers this explanation for the nickname "Cathedral":  The music of the fugue "also conveys a busier sense, a feeling the mood is evolving from the serene but earthbound to the inspiring and heavenly."

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