Here’s another upload from the student book “The Progressive Organist – Book 1” edited by C. H. Trevor.
Bach’s chorale prelude on “Liebster Jesu” BWV 731 presents an ornamented melismatic melody in the RH with an intricate LH accompaniment and slow-moving pedal part.
I’m using the Portland Rosales Opus 11 sample set from Sonus Paradisi. I’ve loaded just the Front Direct ranks, adding a 3-second reverb using the plug-in “Seventh Heaven – Professional” from LiquidSonics, running inside Reaper.
For the RH part I’ve chosen the strong Cornet on the Swell, with tremulant. Detail is important in the LH, so I’ve opted for principal tone at 8 & 4 pitches on the Positive. This is coupled to pedal Bourdons at 16 & 8.
Although the tempo is slow, it mustn’t drag. The opening LH quavers in the tenor part establish the beat, which must be felt throughout. Some rubato is appropriate, especially in the long trill at the end of the first section and its repeat.
The RH part needs to “sing”. Imagine that it’s a solo singer or instrument. Shape the phrases, “breathing” at what would be the end of each line of sung text by shortening the last note of the phrase. At this tempo it’s not appropriate to shorten repeated notes by half their value – a quarter is better.
Two important rhythmic features are present, especially in the LH part. Sometimes the first semiquaver in a group of 4 is a rest. This silence must be observed. At other times the last semiquaver of a four-note group is tied across to the first semiquaver on the next beat. This brief suspension is easy to omit if careless by releasing the tied note too soon. Instead, lean on the tied note (lengthening it slightly) to maintain strength in the harmonic rhythm.
Practice routines ...
• LH only (detailed work on accuracy)
• LH + Ped (once LH is secure)
• RH only (making it “sing”)
• All parts (initially in short sections)