Prelude and Capriccio in d minor by Butstedt

A good case can be made for this being the partial inspiration for Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in d minor; BWV565. The form is identical, and the figuration and style is very similar. At that time, circa 1700, the different terms like, ‘toccata’, ‘capriccio’, ‘praeludium’, ‘fantasia’ and to some extent, even ‘fuga’ were interchangeable. The ‘fuga’ in BWV 565 is much closer to a Butstedt capriccio than a Bach fugue, except for the the developed pedal work. Other influences on BWV565 are the Buxtehude Toccata Bux155, which is also very similar, and the Pachelbel Fantasia in d minor which has identical thematic material. Pachelbel and Buxtehude died within a year of each other and so it is quite possible that Bach wrote this in 1708 as a funereal tribute. BWV565 has the rhetorical ‘cry from the depths’ about the theme. It also incorporates, in the harmonies, an allusion to the funeral chorale, “Alle Menschen Musen Sterben” (All Men Are Mortal) in the episodic work of the fugue. The repeated passagework and ‘echo effects’ are reminiscent of much of Butstedt’s work.

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About Zoe Nightingale

I am a writer of short stories, novels, poetry and non fiction.
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