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May 15, 2002
Vol. II, No. 17

"BWV 543 Is Shrinking!"
I could play the Prelude and Fugue in A Minor (BWV 543) all day long. What makes it so much fun to play? I've been playing it for 18 years and I still can't put my finger on exactly what makes it extra special. It might have something to do with the momentum that gets going in the first bars of the prelude and continues all the way through to the last bars of the fugue. It might be the qualities it has that remind me of another crowd-pleaser, the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, which I've also been known to drive into the ground.

Speaking of driving, I grew up near Ruffsdale, Pennsylvania (outside of Pittsburgh) and went to college in Oberlin, Ohio. The drive from home to school, or vice versa, took anywhere from 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours, depending on whether it was me or my dad driving. Over the years I made the trip countless times and always enjoyed it. What I soon noticed, however, was that, although the mileage of course remained the same, the trip seemed to get shorter each time I made it. By senior year, it would be over in the blink of an eye. I wasn't driving faster; the time just seemed to pass faster. Maybe you've had that experience driving or walking a well-worn, familiar route.

Well, unfortunately, that's the effect I'm experiencing now with the Prelude and Fugue in A Minor. I have a great time playing it, seeing my old friends along the way, familiar landmarks welcoming me, encouraging me on my journey. Then, before I know it, I'm at the final pedal cadenza. It's all over way too soon and it's a big disappointment. On the other hand, at the rate it's shrinking I'll soon be able to use it as an offertory!

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Updated page: Featured Links
The following links have been added:
--The Chilean Pipe Organ Site. I don't know about you but I sure won't have the chance to travel to Chile anytime soon. Here's an opportunity to view a nice selection of Chilean organs.
--Royal Bank Calgary International Organ Festival and Competition. "Calgary is ready to take centre stage once again and host some of the finest musicians in the world August 7 to 17, for the 4th Royal Bank Calgary International Organ Festival and Competition. The 2002 Festival and Competition promises to be 11 days of world-class entertainment, with something for everyone to enjoy."
--American Institute of Organbuilders. This site mainly serves professional organbuilders but I found it interesting to wander around in their world for a while. Also, there is a great deal of information available that would be helpful if you're building your own organ.

Have a great week and enjoy your repertoire!

Dan Long

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