Johann Balthasar Kehl (1725 – 1778) was a German organist, cellist and composer. Kehl’s claim to fame are the chorale preludes he published during his time in Erlangen, in four different volumes (Erste bis Vierte Sammlung einiger variierender Choräle, 1764). Each of those volumes contains 14 chorale preludes, preceded by a Präludium. Kehl’s preludes are relatively simple, with no or a modest pedal part. Striking in Kehl’s chorale preludes is the great variety in texture, tempo, style and atmosphere. The pieces of this collection are ideally suited for smaller organs and for use in organ playing education.
Five years ago I published a series of Kehl's chorale preludes, most of which were originally published as the second volume of the 'variierender Choräle'. The other preludes were tkaen from several manuscripts owned by the Staatbibliothek Berlin. That series of preludes can be downloaded here: https://partitura.org/index.php/johann-balthasar-kehl-sammlung-einiger-variirender-chorale/
. Recently I found a digital copy of the first of Kehl's volumes of choral preludes in the British library. Some of the preludes contained in this first volume are the same as the preludes found in the manuscripts from the Staatsbibliothek Berlin. But the others are new and I will publish them in the next few weeks (or months).
Kehl starts each volume with a prelude. The prelude from the first volume of choral preludes is in a minor. Most of Kehl's compositions are for manuals only and this one is no exception. Nevertheless, even though most of his compositions are relatively easy, Kehl manages to write some interesting pieces of music. The prelude strikes me for it's brooding, dark mood. To emphasize this, I played it on a 16'-basis, using the 16 feet Quintadena
Score available here: https://partitura.org/index.php/johann-balthasar-kehl-praludium-a-moll