A Prelude and Fugue About Quem Pastores Laudavere

I don't do arrangements, haven't done so for a good twenty years.  Sometimes, however, a tune by someone else can be the starting point for an original piece (that's how Goat! happened) and when asked to arrange Quem Pastores Laudavere (aka Jesu, Good Above All Other) I agreed as long as nobody minded my using it for a fugue: it's one of those tunes that instantly lends itself to such treatment.

I'd been in hospital and wrote the thing in bed, sitting up for a day and half a night with my usual cluster of 2B pencils and yellow paper.  It may have been the happy juice that the doctors filled me up with that caused the piece to turn into a fugal quodlibet: at any rate I found that other carols kept suggesting themselves as countersubjects and episodes.  By the time I'd finished, there were eight or 9 other tunes tucked in there as well.

The people I'd written it for were dreadfully cross with me but the piece seems to be very popular, especially in Germany where they like this sort of thing.  It's even been  played by the Berlin Philharmonic brass.

The glorious, wonderful Burning River Brass have recorded this.  That was a lovely thing to happen: for my money they're the best brass group in the world.  You can buy their Christmas record here:

Burning River Brass: Christmas Around the World   

or go to iTunes and download a version by a German group called Ensemble 23*12 who, naturally enough, give it the German title Präludium und Fuge Über Quem Pastores Laudavere.

Ensemble 23*12

Brasswind publish it under the title Prelude and Fugue for Christmas and you can order it here.


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