[Applause] Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Wednesdays in Wiedemann, and our second in this semester’s series. This is a very good time to be able to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, led by Martin Luther. 1517 to 2017. That’s quite a date. And as we demonstrated in our first Wednesdays in Wiedemann, on February 1st, in a program dedicated entirely to J.S. Bach, one of the most fervent users of chorale tunes. And many of them written by Martin Luther himself. Today we have three works. Two by Bach, both in E minor And two by Louis Marchand, who was a contemporary of Bach’s. Both of those works in D. Or in the first church tomb, mud. Mode. The first piece is one of the Leipzig chorales. And the hymn tune, “Jesus Christus, unser Heiland” or “Jesus Christ Our Savior,” was written by Martin Luther in 1524. This is an old hymn for Communion, to be played during the service. and was treated four times by Bach in his career. This particular version was probably the last written in his hand before he actually became blind. And during the last months of his life. It’s one of the most elaborated chorale preludes in all of his works. Musically, from a standpoint of the strict, rigorous, four-voice counterpoint, beautiful counterpoint that you’ll hear. But also, it’s one of the best, most brilliant word-music relationships. Where the verse of the hymn is treated and you have this in your program, by each phrase, Jesus Christ our Savior, with the beautiful serenity of a solid meditation in the knowleges of Christ as savior. The second verse, “Who has turned away god’s wrath from us?” God’s anger, where we hear a sort of disorderly counterpoint with large intervals and dissonances. The third verse is “Through his bitter suffering” and Christ’s suffering is shown through very tortuous and intense chromaticisms descending, for the most part. And then the fourth, “And saved us from the torments of hell.” We are saved, and we are beautiful flourishes and the number of voices going from four to eight compounding themselves in the end. In explaining and explaining the victory of eternal life over infernal damnation which is always imminently inspiring and and hopeful in JS Bach’s works. Chorale prelude, “Jesus Christus, unser Heiland” by Johann Sebastian Bach. Louis Marchand, a contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach. He was one of the most grand French organ virtuosos of his time. He lived at the same time as François Couperin, as if you know that name from the dynasty of that great family. He was rumored … of course, this was an anecdote and it can’t be proved, but it’s a good anecdote to tell that during his stay in Germany where he was for three years, that he and Bach were to have met in Dresden to measure their respective talents. See who was the strongest, or at least compare the two. Well, but apparently Marchand left before they could do that, And this is still just an anecdote, but it’s nice to tell. He left little written music on the contrary of Bach. But the first pieces from his Premier Livre, or his first book, are all gems. The “Récit” is a solo. A moment of pure poetry with flourishes of ornimentation that always appear in Baroque music. It can be a commentary from the gloria of the Catholic mass. “You the most high, Jesus Christ” The “Basse de trompette” would correspond to “Deposuit potentes de sede” From the Magnificat. And that is “He hath put down the mighty from their seat” And you will see from the theme in the trumpet and it’s this trumpet that you’re going to hear, the Spanish trumpet. 8 4 and 2 flutes from the [waysee] And with the dialog of the conea from the great. It’s interesting to note that the differences between the French organ and the German organ at that time. The French organ is all about colors, reeds, trupets great grand clarions, bombard, and flutes and details. And the German organ, with its brilliant mixtures and the palatinum, which you will hear a lot of in the “Prelude and Fugue in E Minor,” the last piece. But for now, Louis Marchand, “Récit”
and “Basse de trompette” And now for the greatest and grandest Prelude and Fugue by Bach, without a doubt. Bach himself was a great virtuoso and many of his contemporaries wrote that he could play for hours and improvise for hours. And this is from his last period around 1730. The prelude is a profusion and richness of musical figures. And the fugue, the longest of Bach’s fugues with a special wedge-shaped subject which means that it starts and goes one way this way and the other one this way … that’s the wedge. [ha ha] And you’ll hear it, rather than I should try to sing it. [clears throat] This is by far the most virtuosic of Bach’s organ works with flourishes and sequences. And using the German organ planum, which is the full organ with mixtures — principal chorus and mixtures — all the way through, which is in itself a strength. A symbol of strength. But it always heralds Bach’s enormous faith in an uplifting and a supremely inspirational vision of Heaven on Earth. Bach’s “Prelude and Fugue in E minor.”