In contrast to the works of Marcel Dupré for All Saints morning service, tomorrow night at Vespers you’ll hear lots of Bach, not only the works by J. S. but also Johann Ernst Bach (1722-1777), who was the son of Johann Bernhard Bach (1676-1749). That would make Johann Ernst a nephew of Johann Sebastian. Johann Ernst was a student at the Thomasschule and had his uncle for a teacher. He was like many of today’s musicians who have dual careers — he was the successor at Eisenach where his father was organist, but was also a practicing lawyer. The LCH Choir and Bach Chamber Orchestra will be performing Johann Ernst Bach’s Magnificat, a multi-movement work with solos, duets, and choruses.
The cantata for the evening will be No 115, Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit, and opens with a big chorus. You’ll also hear solos by Georgine Stark, Emily Haswell, Renson Madarang and Keane Ishii.
I will play J. S. Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537 — the fantasia for the prelude and the fugue for the postlude. (Just in case you’re worried, no, I’m not playing this on the continuo organ, which of course has no pedals! I’ll be playing this on the big organ!) It may have been composed during Bach’s Weimar years although some scholars think it was was composed in 1723 when Bach was in Köthen. Here’s the Wikipedia description of the work:
The fantasia of the piece is quite lush and very ornate, consisting of two unequal halves that both feature the same two basic musical ideas, an imitative dotted-rhythm tune, and a leaping eighth-note form, which is also in imitation, initiated by the pedals. An interesting feature of the fantasia is that unlike many of its contemporaries it features no cadenza-like passage in which a performer could show off their virtuosity. The fugue uses a steady theme four times in a row that can be easily recognised each time that it reappears.
Edward Elgar (1857-1934) transcribed the work for orchestra which was performed at the Three Choirs Festival in 1922.
Please join us for Bach tomorrow night!