Johann Sebastian Bach

Prelude and Fugue, for organ in E flat major ("St. Anne"), BWV 552 (BC J16) (Clavier-Übung III/26)

    Description by Michael Jameson

    Johann Sebastian' Bach's Prelude and Fugue in E flat major, owes its nickname "St. Anne" to the close similarity between the theme of the fugue itself, and the eponymous hymn tune by William Croft (1678-1727), to which the words of Isaac Watts' great hymn "O God our help in ages past" is normally sung. There is, however, no evidence whatever to suggest that Bach might have known Croft's hymn tune "St. Anne," which was not known to be sung outside of the British Isles. This work was included in Part III of Bach's Clavier-Übung (literally "Keyboard-Practice") which was first published in September 1739. It was Bach's first major published edition devoted to new organ pieces, and was issued with the rather cumbersome subtitle of Dritter Theil der Clavier Übung bestehend in verschieden Vorspielen über die Catechismus--und andere Gesaenge, vor die Orgel (Third Part of the Keyboard Studies Comprising Various Preludes on the Catechism and other Hymns for Organ). The complete volume was made up of multiple settings of the German Kyrie and Gloria, pairs of settings of each of the six catechism chorales, and four duets. Surmounting all these was the superb and majestic E flat Prelude and Fugue, the "St. Anne." It is not possible to determine whether or not Bach wrote these pieces with any particular occasion in mind, although some authorities have suggested that he may well have played some or perhaps all of the set in a recital he gave on the newly installed organ of the Frauernkirche, in Dresden, on December 1, 1736. Others have opined that the occasion of the first performance may have been the celebrations held throughout Lutheran Germany on August 12, 1739, to commemorate the bicentenary of the Confession of Augsburg. However, possibly the most likely impulse for these works was Bach's newly rekindled interest in the church chorale, which had been occasioned by his work for the Schemelli Hymnal project of 1736. Gregory Butler, a noted authority on the original manuscripts of Bach's organ works, has written that "Clavier-Übung III represents a landmark in Bach's oeuvre. In it are forecast many of the preoccupations which dominate the works of his last decade; a concentration on the techniques of fugue and canon... an interest in highly abstract, recherché musical thought; and a preoccupation with saying the last word in a given genre with an attendant monumentality of conception." The "St. Anne" Prelude and Fugue attests powerfully to Bach's attainments in each of these areas, and stands as one of the most noble and eloquent utterances among his many organ compositions.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Prelude
    2. Fugue

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Willowhayne Records LCSCD 006
    2018 Decca
    2018 Piano Classics PCL 0121
    2018 Oehms Classics OC 020
    2017 Rondeau / Rondeau Productions ROP 6117
    2017 MSR Classics MS 1542
    2017 J.S. Bach-Stiftung B 535CD
    2017 Hungaroton HCD 32782
    2016 Antes Edition BM 319297
    2016 RCA Red Seal 88985321742
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796018
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 Oehms Classics OC 1827
    2015 MSR Classics MS 1444
    2015 Prestare ZWF 3331568
    2015 Warner Classics 2564607517
    2015 Antes Edition
    2014 Ramée 1305
    2014 Hungaroton HCD 3274546
    2014 Brilliant Classics 94792
    2013 Melodiya MYD 1002109
    2012 Syrius SYR 141457
    2012 Rondeau ROP 606566
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94201
    2011 NCA 60230
    2011 MDG MDG 60617082
    2011 Red Bus Classical RCLAS 002
    2011 Erato 2564676018
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon 4779527
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Decca 4782358
    2010 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2010 Ars Musici 232398
    2010 Divine Art 25088
    2010 Christine Westhoff 2010
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon 4778167
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Brilliant Classics 93240
    2009 Gramola 9885455
    2009 Audite 20028
    2009 Hyperion CDA67683
    2008 Philips 464988
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93668
    2008 Loft Recordings 1098
    2008 Brilliant 93160
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 423779
    2007 Analekta 299705
    2007 Musical Concepts 191
    2007 Analekta 24022-43
    2007 Haenssler 98504
    2007 Orfeo 676071
    2007 Novalis 150185
    2007 Apex
    2007 Lyrichord 8058
    2007 Querstand 0724
    2007 Melodiya MELCD 1001253
    2007 Cascade Records 2100
    2007 Erato 4699028
    2006 Hyperion 22062
    2006 Nosag Records 2122
    2006 Analekta 7804
    2006 Delphian DCD 34022
    2005 Regis Records 2042
    2005 Gothic Records 49242
    2005 Interdisc Trading 97440
    2005 Capriccio Records 49444
    2005 Nosag Records 097
    2004 Delta Distribution 40028
    2004 Archiv Produktion 000185602
    2004 Brilliant Classics 92391
    2004 Symposium SYMPCD1340
    2003 Guild 7262/63
    2003 Art & Music 1539/58
    2003 Universal Distribution 000106202
    2003 History 45515
    2002 Haenssler 94020
    2002 CPO 999867
    2002 Delta Distribution 14585
    2002 Hyperion 44121/36
    2001 BIS 1091/2
    2001 Motette 50721
    2001 Pioneer 11544
    2001 Teldec 82041
    2001 APR (Appian) 5559
    2000 Querstand 9919
    2000 K 617 7061
    2000 Stradivarius 33561
    2000 Stradivarius 80018
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 73878
    2000 Archiv Produktion 463712
    2000 Arts Music 47199
    2000 Gloriae Dei Cantores 028
    2000 Tahra 185-189
    1999 Teldec 25705
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Meridian Records 84378
    1999 Haenssler 92101
    1999 Channel Classics CCS13498
    1999 Harmonia Mundi 290772
    1999 Teldec 3984-25713-2
    1999 Valois 4425
    1999 Hyperion 67213
    1999 Archiv Produktion 419904
    1999 Gothic Records 49104
    1999 Fermate 20028
    1999 Cantate 57619
    1998 Haenssler 98182
    1998 Archiv Produktion 457704
    1998 Berlin Classics 0093622
    1998 Pearl 0017
    1998 Nimbus 5561/2
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453 064-2GTA2
    1997 Point Classics 265031
    1996 Gasparo Records 321
    1996 Naxos 550929
    1996 Naxos 550930
    1996 Supraphon 31762
    1996 Camerata Records 197
    1996 Chandos 0590
    1996 Seraphim UK 69119
    1996 Philips 454648
    1996 Naxos 504014
    1996 Naxos 553859
    1996 Priory Records 568
    1995 London 443485
    1995 Herald Records 130
    1995 Capriccio Records 10036
    1995 Novalis 150130
    1994 Capriccio Records 10305
    1994 BIS 443/44
    1994 Erato 96358
    1994 Erato 96723
    1994 Erato 96724
    1993 Novalis 150005
    1993 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77276
    1993 Hyperion CDA66791/2
    1992 Telarc Distribution CD80286
    1992 Moss Music Group / Vox 5013
    1990 Laserlight 507
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 415442
    1989 Deutsche Grammophon 427668
    History 204556
    CSO 5
    Berlin Classics 0010602
    Disques Pierre Verany 790052
    Calcante Recordings 010
    Classico 155/6
    Arkay Records 6161
    Analekta 4033
    Analekta 4034
    Laserlight 14836
    MDG MDG 330 1006-2
    Naxos 550184
    EMI Music Distribution 67445
    Deutsche Grammophon 403302
    Brilliant 93160/6
    Brilliant 92391/17
    Brilliant Classics 93668/17
    Deutsche Grammophon 471734
    Interdisc Trading 97440/1
    ToccaTa Records 941
    Antes 881001
    Hyperion 44122
    Hyperion 44132
    CBS Records 42648
    Ligia 104081
    EMI Music Distribution
    Ligia 104077/80
    Philips 422965
    Apex 41373
    RCA 60785
    Vox 5013
    Philips 410038
    EBS 6028
    Amphion 132
    Arkay Records 6104
    Cascade Records 2105
    Valois 4410
    Donau 8034
    Priory Records 523
    Pro Organo 7029