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20. Prelude and Fugue in A minor from Book 1






                    Try speaking this in the rhythm of the opening of the Fugue subject!

I think the intention to write twenty-four Preludes and Fugues must have been there in Bach’s mind from the beginning. The project is so bound up with the desire to write a piece in every major and minor key to demonstrate the possibilities of the newly discovered equal temperament. I have no idea at what point the twenty-four turned conceptually into forty-eight. As Bach used Book 1 as teaching pieces in his own practice it has been suggested that the impetus to write a second book of Preludes and Fugues twenty years after Book 1 may have been simply that he wanted to listen to some different pieces when teaching. What is clear is that the decision to write a new book immediately implied the number twenty-four. With Dr Edward Bach and the Flower Remedies the situation was rather different. The journey begins with Impatiens, Clematis and Mimulus. There is no clear sense that this journey will end up with thirty-eight different Remedies. Indeed for a few years Dr Bach was convinced that the number was going to be twelve.The first set, known as The Twelve Healers, gave Dr Bach the view that he had found a complete set of remedy types. He developed the view that every person could be matched with one of these Remedies as a Soul Remedy and that finding the correct Soul Remedy for a particular person would have a profound transformational effect on that person’s life. After working for a few years with the Twelve Healers Dr Bach’s view changed inasmuch as he realised that many blocks in people’s lives needed other energies to work with. Some states of behaviour had become so chronic, so set in people’s lives that knowing the correct Soul Remedy was not in itself sufficient. He discovered the remedy Oak worked well with people who had a chronic tendency to keep going until they collapsed in illness. He discovered the remedy Heather worked well with people who had a chronic tendency to buttonhole people and pour out their whole life story because of a deep loneliness. He discovered that the remedy Olive worked well with people who were so spiritually and emotionally exhausted that the Soul Remedies didn’t appear to work. The ‘Seven Helpers’ that Dr Bach discovered added to the Twelve Healers made a total set of nineteen Remedies. Even at this stage, there was no intimation that a second set of nineteen Remedies were still waiting to be discovered. The journey of discovering what are often known as the ‘Second Nineteen’ Flower Remedies was a much more compressed one, encompassing only a matter of nine months. The mind states that the Second Nineteen deal with are darker and more extreme. When I was composing the Musical Remedy pieces some of them proved difficult to access. In some cases I found that taking the Remedy myself was necessary as a catalyst for tuning into the energy. With other Remedies the musical outline emerged very easily as had happened at the beginning. However, some of these pieces where the outline appeared easily proved more challenging to develop into performance pieces at a later stage of the creative process. The 12 + 7 + 19 way of understanding and grouping the Flower Remedies is not the full story. Near the end of this life, Bach himself organised all thirty-eight Remedies into seven groups - remedies for : loneliness uncertainty fear lack of interest in present circumstances overcare for others oversensitivity despondency and despair Another classification, developed by Phillip Salmon and Anna Jeoffroy relates these seven groups to the classical seven energy chakras in the human body : crown third eye throat heart solar plexus sacral base In contrast to this there has been surprisingly little imagination with regard to grouping the musical pieces in the forty eight Preludes and Fugues. Printed music copies and recordings always seem to follow the standard major - minor pattern and chromatic ascent from C through to B. It is interesting though that when Shostakovich came to write his own set of twenty-four Preludes and Fugues in 1950 after being inspired by hearing the Bach performed live by Tatiana Nikoleyeva he arranged them in the order following the circle of fifths, i.e. from C major and A minor through in the sharp direction and finishing with F and D minor. A few years ago I began to discover energetic links between some of the Bach Preludes and Fugues and some of the Bach Flower Remedies. The initial breakthrough was when practising the Prelude and Fugue in C minor from Book 1 and being struck by how similar the energy was to that of Impatiens, the first of the Bach Flower Remedies to be discovered. Immediately the energy of the E flat minor Prelude and Fugue from Book 1 presented itself as Clematis, the second Remedy that Dr Bach discovered. The Flower Remedies are as contrasting as the two Preludes are contrasting pieces of music. Numbering, grouping, classification - there is always a fascination in the human mind. However I see this not as an end in itself but as a stage on the journey. For me personally with the forty-eight Preludes and Fugues and the thirty-eight Flower Remedies this remains an ongoing journey of discovery.