A major influence on Bach — who once walked 200 miles to hear him perform — Buxtehude is among the great names in Organ music and the study of counterpoint. Born five decades after Heinrich Schütz, the "father of German musicians," and a little less than half a century before Bach, he bridged the era between the founder of Protestant Baroque music and its greatest master. This collection of church chorales attests to Buxtehude's reputation as an outstanding composer of sacred Vocal music.
For his texts, the composer drew upon scripture as well as church hymns and contemporary or medieval sacred poetry. Albert Schweitzer, in his famous biography of Bach, observed that Buxtehude's chorale preludes are "chorale fantasias of the most varied kinds, from the simplest to the most ingenious. In the simple ones the melody goes its way quietly, just embellished here and there with a few ornaments, and accompanied by interesting and always ingenious harmonies. . . . In the large chorale preludes, Buxtehude tears the melody in pieces, throws the fragments into the flood of a brilliant, animated fantasia."
Authoritative and modestly priced, this treasury of Buxtehude's works offers organists a source of endless satisfaction and inspiration.
Reprint of the Breitkopf & Härtel, Leipzig, 1903 edition.