We have been back in Hawaii not quite two days and I have been hitting the ground running in the ramp-up to my Bach concerts on August 18 and 25. I have not yet been able to get to the organ yet since I had my monthly eye injection yesterday. But now the real work lies ahead of us.
Each of the eighteen chorale settings will be preceded by the singing of the four-part chorale on which the piece is based. These chorales will be sung by the Bach Chamber Choir, eight singers who are capable of singing all this music with only a single rehearsal. But in order to have this august group sing the chorales, we need to prepare choral editions of the music!
The good news is that I found a great website which purports to have the 371 Bach chorales compiled by Albert Riemenschneider in several electronic formats: MIDI, QuickTime and Portable Document Format (PDF), saving me some time in having to “punch in” the music. This book was one of our required texts in college and it’s still for sale on Amazon, having sold over 1,000,000 copies!
The bad news is that several of the chorales which we are using are not on the list! And, of course, I am having to type in the text of each of the soprano, alto, tenor and bass parts. With many florid melismas (many notes to each syllable), decisions have to be made as to which syllable to assign to which note.
After the musical editions for the choir are made, then I have the daunting task of writing the program notes and laying out the actual program. I intend to include the melody line in front of each piece description so that people can follow along (but not sing!).
I wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to colleague Margaret Lloyd, organist of neighboring Central Union Church, in the loss of her husband, The Rev. Robert Lloyd, who was taken ill on a mission trip and died in a Hong Kong hospital just a few hours ago. Rob was frequently involved in our Hawaii Chapter American Guild of Organists activities — he took pictures at the Midsummer Night’s Organ Concerts, and said grace at our annual membership meetings, etc. At the Region IX AGO Convention in Bakersfield, two of our AGO chapter members were remembered in a moment of silence as names of people who had died were read : John McCreary and Ruth Imperial Pfeiffer.