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Bach Micknamed Works


Peter Clark
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I was given a CD recently (Micheae Murray at St John NY) which includes the "little" E minor P+F; the notes said that this is kniown as the "Cathedral" prelude and fugue and goes on to state that this is an appropriate sobriquet. Well it's the first I've heard of it and, frankly, can't see why this piece rather than any other should evoke a cathedralic atmosphere. Any thoughts?

 

Peter

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I was given a CD recently (Micheae Murray at St John NY) which includes the "little" E minor P+F; the notes said that this is kniown as the "Cathedral" prelude and fugue and goes on to state that this is an appropriate sobriquet. Well it's the first I've heard of it and, frankly, can't see why this piece rather than any other should evoke a cathedralic atmosphere. Any thoughts?

 

Peter

And a super Cd it is, have you heard any of Mr. Murrays others?.

must be an Americanism to give the pieces names

Peter

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must be an Americanism to give the pieces names

Peter

 

I believe it was referred to as the 'Cathedral' Prelude & Fugue in Cesar Franck's recital programmes. I think it was the only piece he ever played, apart from his own works and improvisations.

 

Would that one could have a concert organist career like that these days...

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Nah, it's definitely the little E minor. I guess it's a hangover from the old days of Romantic Bach. Listening to
you can see why the epithet might have been thought appropriate.

 

Just listened to it - quite extraordinary! The mordant in the fugue has an A#, which I am told is more correct but the A natural seems (to me) more satisfactory. What say the readership?

 

Peter

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I like the #; but notice that he varies it - in bar 19 the first mordent (only) is inverted to avoid the A natural in the pedal; and in bar 24 the two mordents are natural, but the following one #, following the way the harmony is moving. And he puts the mordent in the pedal entries as well.

 

Paul

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I have had access to a copy of this Vierne recording for some time. I find it very difficult to listen to, particularly in view of the tempo. But he certainly hasn't missed out on the gravitas!

 

But how interesting this is. Here we have Vierne playing Bach unbelievably slowly, whilst on another thread we were discussing Bairstow playing the b minor BWV 544 at a breakneck speed - both recorded in the 1920's. I wonder if these performances represent their respective national schools of Bach playing of the period. Or was one of them out on a limb?

 

We've also been discussing GTB taking BWV 540 at a hell of a lick. And I seem to remember having heard Schweitzer playing Bach at a very ponderous tempo - so maybe British organists did tend to play JSB rather faster than the French. Any thoughts?

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