While I am off practicing, my local consultant felt compelled to write in my absence.
Although I have been quoted in several of Kathy’s blog posts, this will be the first time I have actually written one myself.
For the regular readers of this blog, you probably have already surmised that the upcoming Bach recitals have been a true labor of love. As with all of the many “Crosier Productions” over the years, Kathy has been the one who pulls the many details together to make them happen (press releases, music editions, graphic design and production, program layouts, organizing “the support”, and all kinds of odds and ends, including making and filling all the ticket orders). And even though almost the entire musical responsibility will be borne by her in performing these masterworks, she has done all of the rest of it too! I have the easy part this time.
The Great Eighteen Chorales have been very special to both of us for very many years. These were the first Bach organ works based on the chorale that I became familiar with in my college years, through the recordings of Marie-Claire Alain. And in my own career as an organist, I actually played 10 of these myself. So when we discussed some possible musical projects, presenting the Great Eighteen seemed like the perfect choice. She originally asked me if I would be interested in playing some of them as we did in 1979 when we split up the Clavierübung, Part III . (The German Organ Mass). But I told her I hadn’t been keeping up my organ playing and it would add a level of stress I didn’t need. For the record, I am completely retired from playing the organ, by the way. So it was all on her shoulders, and as you know she has lived intimately with these pieces for the past 8 months.
The other great challenge in this project was finding the texts that correspond with each of these settings and using the Bach harmonizations wherever possible. It wasn’t always the first verse of the particular chorale. Also, often these settings needed to be transposed to match the keys of the organ setting, and then there was the question of the pointing of the text. Kathy produced the custom choral edition from which the choir will perform, including the addition of dynamics and a line-by-line translation so the singers would know what they are singing.
I, of course, have had a preview of each of the concerts after which I made a few suggestions, nearly all of which she agreed would be a better solution. Her goal in sharing this glorious music was not only to play it at a very high standard, but to also offer as much variety and color as possible in registering the Beckerath Organ .
I think we are all in for a very special musical treat that has been the result of a huge “Labor of Love.”
From her proud and adoring husband.
Buy tickets by clicking this link: www.agohawaii.org. Over a hundred tickets have been sold already!