FINALLY! With this Chorale Prelude, I bring the year (plus some) of learning the Orgelbuchlein to an end. Whew! It has been at times interesting, fun, and frustrating. This final prelude fit into all three categories.
This Chorale Prelude is the final prelude in the Christmas section of the Orgelbuchlein. The Chorale is not overly exciting by itself, but Bach does derive a four note descending motive that dominates the entirety of the prelude (it is heard first in the left hand--it is pretty noticeable as it is the faster moving notes against the rest of the piece.) Interestingly, Bach chose to write the work in a 4/4 time signature (four beats per measure, each divided equally by two smaller subdivisions [1&2&3&4&), but then treats the prelude as if it were in 12/8 (four beats per measure, each divided equally by three smaller subdivisions (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12). In a blog by Raymond Nagem that I have taken to reading while I study each prelude (I have mentioned it several times in past posts), he describes the piece as a gigue--a dance piece in Baroque music in compound meter (6/8 or 12/8 meter) that usually is the last movement of a dance suite. If Bach was thinking this way, I think he is leaving the Christmas season with a lively dance--a wiggle in the hips and a tapping of the toes.
The chorale tune is presented in a straightforward manner in the upper most voice, while the inner voices are almost completely occupied with the four note motive described above. The pedals, however, are where the panic setting in during the time I learned it. It is all over the pedal board, possibly linking fancy footwork of the organist to the ending of the Christmas season. Hope you enjoy and I look forward to any constructive criticism for future use!