Friday, February 28, 2014

In an Orgelbüchlein mood...

I'll have to admit: today was the first time in a while I cracked open my copy of the Orgelbüchlein. There some lovely pieces in there that have been a part of my repertoire for years. It was nice to dust off O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß (BWV 622; Oh Man, bewail your great sins) and even nicer to know it won't take me as long to get it back in my hands and feet. It's one of my favourite pieces to play during Lent. One of my friends quipped that it was essentially Jesus Christ's entire life in one song. I certainly can't argue with that! The first time I had heard this piece, it was love at first listen. It has a gorgeous melody line, and it just falls in the hands and feet so comfortably. I'm planning to play this as a prelude for either Lent I or Lent II.

The first piece I learned how to play out of the Orgelbüchlein was Christ lag in Todesbanden (BWV 625; Christ lay in the bonds of death). I'm so glad my organ teacher had insisted I learned how to play this piece! It's my go-to piece as either a postlude for Easter Vigil or prelude for Easter Sunday. On the rare occasion I'm asked to play a funeral, I'll also play this piece as a postlude.

One piece I've always wanted to learn how to play was O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig (BWV 618; Oh innocent Lamb of God). I spent some time earlier this evening playing through it. I think I can do this! With some practice, I'm hoping to be able to play this piece as a prelude for Lent V or Palm Sunday.

There are so many treasures in J.S. Bach's 'Little Organ Book'. Hopefully, one of these days, I'll be able to get more of these pieces into my repertoire. I don't really play all that many of them. Other pieces I've learnt include Jesu, meine Freude (BWV 610; Jesus, my joy), In dir ist Freude (BWV 615; In you is joy), and Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (BWV 639; I call to you, Lord Jesus Christ).

I'll close this post with a YouTube video of organist Wolfgang Zerer playing O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig. At least hearing this, I have hope that I'm not too far from having this playable in time!