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Chorale Prelude "Puer Natus in Bethlehem"

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Uploaded by: Andrew Grahame (04/23/17)
Composer: Buxtehude, Dieterich
Sample Producer: OrganART Media
Sample Set: 2012 Metzler, Poblet Abbey, Spain
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Baroque
Tonight I'm going a bit out of order as I work through "The Progressive Organist - Book 1". I've turned through to Pages 16-17 to a short but emotionally-charged chorale prelude by Buxtehude.


RH on the "Cornet decompose" on the RP LH on HW flutes 8 & 4
Ped 16, Viola 8 coupled to UW flutes 8 & 4

In the previous uploads of "Progressive Organist Bk 1" I've referred to halving the value of a repeated note. Here's a classic deviation from this rule - when the tempo is slow and note values are long. Here it's more appropriate for repeated notes to lose only a quarter of their value, not half.

The secret of success in works of this texture this is to ensure that the LH and Pedal are secure on their own before adding the RH. That way the RH can become the prime focus of your mind in performance, making it easier to treat the RH part as a lyrical solo. You need to imagine that the RH part is a singer or expressive solo instrument, and the other parts provide fluent but unobtrusive support.

I've uploaded 2 MIDI files. One is of the LH and Pedal parts only, and the other is of the full performance.

It's only possible to upload a single audio file, so I've created an edited version which presents this work 3 times - first in full, then with LH & Ped, and finally in full again.

With the LH & Ped, be very careful to observe all rests, some of which occur in different places in the different parts. Some careful finger substitution is needed in places. I like to keep the LH part legato as far as possible. Phrasing is achieved with judicious detaching of the pedal part, combined with shaping of the RH part.

Look very carefully at the last few bars. The LH has a tremendously important role here to wrap up the work. The last 3 chords of the second last bar can be slightly detached to help create the rallentando, and the very last LH chord should be delayed slightly to hold the listener's attention right to the absolute end.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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