Like a thief in the night

The music of Bach is always challenging!

Tomorrow is Bach’s birthday, March 21st

This Sunday it’s the Sunday of the Passion, or Palm Sunday, meaning that the end of Lent is upon us — and it’s going to be the end of my Lenten discipline of getting up early to practice Bach’s Great Eighteen Chorales, also called The Leipzig Chorales. I sometimes have felt like “a thief in the night” because it’s still dark when I get to the church and no one sees me.

I’m not quite ready to fly the Mission Accomplished flag, but I can with reasonable certainty say that I’m able to play the chorale settings which I never played before, in addition to reviewing the remaining chorale preludes.

They are:

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, BWV 662, BWV 663, BWV 664
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, BWV 665, BWV 666

As I predicted in a previous post, I’ve had to spend the most time on BWV 664, the trio setting of Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, the German Gloria (“All glory be to God on high”). It’s page after page of non-stop “walking on eggs” with no let-up and my hands are crossed much of the time, not to say anything of my feet never stopping. I’ve embedded an excellent performance of it here:

Unfortunately the performer is not identified, nor the instrument, so I can’t tell you who she is or where she’s playing. But I’ve tried to model my performance after hers, in terms of tempo and registration (which stops I use). There were times when I got really frustrated because of this piece’s difficulty and complexity — and thought “This is impossible! I’m giving up!” When I get to that point, I’ve found that the best thing to do is to let the piece “rest,” and just stop playing it for at least a week. When I come back to it, magically everything is “fixed.”

We’re going to attend Joan Ishibashi’s wedding in Los Angeles this weekend (see my post about LCH’s former Executive Assistant by clicking here), so this four-day trip for the wedding will force me to let it all rest. I understand that a number of LCH parishioners (present and former) will be there, so I’m looking forward to a happy reunion.

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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