This week I am musically celebrating the 335th birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach.
J. S. Bach was a part of a German musical family of many generations. He is considered by many as the greatest composer of the Baroque period (born March 1685, died July 1750). His output was extensive. He is today probably best known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations, for choral music such as the St Matthew Passion, the Mass in B minor, and more than 200 cantatas, plus (as you might guess) many works for organ.
The Bach pieces I’ve chosen for this week come mainly from his early years. The Prelude is “Prelude and Fugue in E Minor” (BWV 555) from a collection of Eight Little Preludes and Fugues. I find this work to be an appropriate lead-in to worship with its calm and meditative opening, and subtle, yet joyful ending.
The Postlude is “Fugue in G Major” (BWV 576) written in a time shortly after our Prelude. This piece runs full-out from start to finish with its theme heard in every voice often. (Please be aware that this is time-wise a longer ending piece. Please be patient.)
These early pieces were most likely composed as teaching pieces for his children. (Although some scholars feel these works are ‘too simple’ and feel they came from other composers. Whatever. I think they are great!)
The Offertory (“Where Can I Flee, O God” BWV 646) is Bach’s instrumental arrangement of an earlier vocal solo from a collection known as “The Schubler Chorales” that contains similar arrangements including “Sleepers, Wake!” and “Praise to the Lord the Almighty.” In this the organist plays the original oboe/bassoon parts in the hands (imitating the fleeing soul?) while ‘singing’ the vocal solo in the pedals.
Happy 335th, Johann!
DID YOU KNOW our Schantz Organ turned 50 last year?
How about we throw it a party?
No need to bake cakes or bring fancy gifts…
this party is to raise funds for much needed repairs and upgrades.
More information will follow
including the guest musicians who will help us celebrate.