BWV 547

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Prelude and fugue in C major

BWV 547 performed by Leo van Doeselaar
Walloon Church, Amsterdam

"When you least expect it, there's the pedal entry."

Movement and motionlessness

Just when the end appears to be in sight, the pedal enters unexpectedly.

In this piece, Bach plays with movement and motionlessness. The 9/8 time signature of the Prelude almost automatically evokes a rocking motion, which is underlined in the first bar by the clear division into three groups of three notes. It is almost like a procession striding into the church and is reminiscent of the opening chorus of cantata BWV 65. Whereas there the orchestra sounds “like a wonderful organ”, in this case we really hear Müller’s wonderful instrument from 1734. From the opening of the Prelude onwards, a world of movement unfolds. The hands start to play faster notes and the pedal enters below with a hop, step and jump.

Bach plays with motionlessness as well. Towards the end of the Prelude, we hear long, motionless notes in the pedal and at a certain moment the movement seems to falter to a halt in a series of chords that go off the harmonic rails. In the Fugue, too, Bach strategically breaks the ongoing movement. Just when the end appears to be in sight, he makes your heart jump when the pedal suddenly enters unexpectedly! This brings the feet of organist Leo van Doeselaar into action again as well. The fugue theme is heard in a tempo that is twice as slow. In the Fugue, too, there is a short chromatic ‘faltering’ near the end, after which the pedal comes to rest on the home base with a throbbing low C, while the rest of the parts run the final stretch.


Prelude and fugue in C major

organ work


Leipzig? Also dated earlier (1719)

Cast & Crew

Release date 22 March 2019
Recording date 10 February 2018
Location Walloon Church, Amsterdam
Organist Leo van Doeselaar
Organ Christian Müller, 1734
Director and editor Bas Wielenga
Music recording Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt, Pim van der Lee
Music edit and mix Guido Tichelman
Camera Merijn Vrieling, Ivo Palmen, Martin Struijf, Bjorn Tiebout
Director of photography Merijn Vrieling
Lights Zen Bloot, Henry Rodgers, Patrick Galvin
Video engineer Vincent Nugteren
Set technique Dennis van Hoek
Data handling Jesper Blok
Project manager NEP Peter Ribbens
Interview Onno van Ameijde, Marloes Biermans
Producer concert Imke Deters
Producer film Jessie Verbrugh

Vocal Texts




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