Prelude and Fugue in E Major

by Max Derrickson

Vincent Lübeck
(Born in Padingbüttel, Germany in 1654; died in Hamburg, Germany in 1740)

Prelude and Fugue in E Major

By the 18th Century, long after the organ’s first appearance as the hydraulis, the pipe organ was well established with its wind bellows and distinctive-sounding pipes that have continued as the modern organ, and organ music was especially cherished in Germany.  It was a blossoming of organ virtuosity. 

Although recently rediscovered, the German Baroque organist and composer Lübeck was, in his long life, famous as both performer and composer.  Unfortunately, little of his music survived his lifetime, in part because a fire in his church of long employ destroyed many of his manuscripts.  But judging from the extraordinary keyboard pieces that did survive, music historians believe that Lübeck was one of the great virtuosos and composers of his day.  He also played on one of the great organs of his time housed at his church in Hamburg.

Lübeck’s brilliant Prelude and fugue in E Major is a great example.  Not only is it technically demanding, it’s also bright and joyful.  The Prelude opens with very fancy footwork almost right off, but rings through in beauty and stateliness.  It’s a fantastic way to begin an evening of organ masterworks.