BWV 599--Nun Komm, Der Heiden Heiland from Orgelbuchlein by J.S. Bach
I began my exploration through the Orgelbuchlein of Bach with the New Year's Chorale Preludes and moved forward from there. This week we move back to the beginning of the entire series with an Advent Prelude. I am fairly early with this one as Advent is quite a way off, but I am keeping with my goal of submitting one each week for the Secrets of Organ Playing Contest.
This prelude seems to be pretty straight forward, an expectation of the arrival of Jesus as Savior of the world. A little "cross" motive permeates the entire prelude with lots of leaping in the pedals while the chorale tune is heard in the upper register of the organ. But the expectation can take on several meanings. In reading Raymond Nagem's blog on his preparation to play the entire Orgelbuchlein, he writes "But the meaning of this first piece is perhaps not so simple. As the British organist Richard Townend asks, “What was in his mind when he was doing this? … Did the Saviour come as mystery or did he come in triumph?” It’s up to the the performer to make a decision, and that decision carries all the meaning for the listener." I chose a more triumphant approach to the prelude, using a Principal Chorus in the manuals with a couple of added flutes. The pedals were also a principal chorus with an added trumpet in the enclosed swell in the pedals. I may try it again in a couple of days trying to get the "mystery" side of the piece. We shall see.
On a side note, it was casual Friday--so I dressed casually.