“I can’t believe this many people would come to an organ recital!” was a comment I heard over and over at yesterday’s first in a two-part mini-series featuring the Great Eighteen Chorales. “I guess people are just starved for Bach” was another comment. For whatever reason, there was absolutely a full house for Bach MasterWorks: The Great Eighteen Chorales, concert number one! Thanks to the many helpers who helped to move the pews, take tickets, monitor the parking, and serve the refreshments, yesterday’s concert was nothing short of a grand success for the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists, whose scholarship programs were the beneficiary of the concert proceeds.
The AGO treasurer, Sam Lam, told me “I looked very closely at the audience, and they were all engaged, following along in their programs. No one was sleeping! No one was snoring!”
Perhaps because we announced in the program that the concert was being professionally recorded, the audience was also extraordinarily quiet. We also asked them to refrain from applause until the end of the concert. I sometimes forgot that there was an audience behind me! We positioned the Bach Chamber Choir in the very back of the church, and it was this superb ensemble which sang the four- part chorales before each of the chorale preludes.
Here are some of the emails I received after the concert:
Thank you for presenting such an inspirational concert this afternoon! It was a such a blessing to experience Bach’s great works, once again, through your tireless efforts and beautiful artistry! God bless you, as you continue to share in His ministry of music!
I knew I was going to enjoy your recital, but I didn’t know HOW MUCH I was going to enjoy it! Having the chorale sung with the appropriate text, and having it in the program were wonderful ideas. It made following the prelude so much easier, and by having the tune notated I also was able to hear much of the ornamentation that I would have missed otherwise. You played the chorale preludes in such a way that their beauty and spirituality were uppermost. I really think I could listen to all 18 in one recital (with a break for dinner in between!). Kudos to Carl and the choir also! It really added to the whole experience: wonderfully thoughtful, uplifting and spiritual. Congratulations! Can’t wait until next Sunday.
Fantastic! Simply put, you are amazing! 🙂 Thank you for the inspirational concert today. I’m looking forward to Part II.
Put me down for ten CDs! I am going to give them away for Christmas presents!