Organ Works, 1838–1843

Wm. A. Little

in Mendelssohn and the Organ

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780195394382
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199863556 | DOI:
Organ Works, 1838–1843

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This chapter reviews Mendelssohn's organ works from 1838-43. Mendelssohn believed that the fugue was the form preeminently suited for the organ. Quite possibly he associated the discipline of fugue with the discipline of organ-playing itself, or he may have feared the pitfalls of the Characterstück, or perhaps believed that fugues, as deliberate products of cerebration, demanded codification, whereas preludes, which could often be equated with improvisation, did not. Whatever the reason, Mendelssohn always harbored a proclivity toward fugue despite the fact that no other musical form caused him more anxiety and frustration. As the manuscripts of the three fugues written in July 1839 make abundantly clear, fugal writing had not become any easier for him over the years; indeed, each of these new fugues was created only with the greatest travail, and attempts to arrive at a definitive text for any of them is a frustrating and elusive undertaking.

Keywords: Mendelssohn; organists; organ music; compositions; fugues

Chapter.  6295 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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