The Utah Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists presents

Bach Birthday Recital

Formerly scheduled for Friday, March 20, 2020
7:00 p.m.
Provo Central Stake Center
450 North 1220 West, Provo, Utah

Presented on-line in compliance with Governor Herbert’s restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Click on the link for each title of the piece to view the performance.

David Chamberlin – Praeambulum in C Major, BWV 566                             

Also known as “Prelude and Fugue” and “Toccata and Fugue,” and originally composed in E Major, this is the work of a young Bach, clearly inspired by Buxtehude, whom he famously walked 200 miles to hear. The prelude opens with a flourish, followed by a variety of textures and some brief harmonic exploration. Two fugues follow, separated by a cadenza-like interlude. The first fugue, in 4/4 time, is the longer of the two. The final fugue, in 3/4 time, becomes decreasingly strict as it brings the whole piece to a fittingly brilliant conclusion.

Spencer Hansen – Gottes Sohn ist kommen, BWV 703, from the Kirnberger Collection     

The Kirnberger collection, named for Bach’s pupil who served as copyist for the set, encompasses a miscellany of organ works from BWV 690-713. “Gottes Sohn ist kommen” (The Son of God Has Come) is a short, light fughetta intended to preface the choral singing of a German advent carol.

Rebecca Brand – Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 706, Chorale preludes No. 1 and 2 from the Kirnberger Collection              

These two short works from the Kirnberger collection are variations on a theme, each of them written to introduce the singing of the chorale: “Dearest Jesus, we are here, To listen to you and to your word.”

Jill Winters – Prelude & Fugue in G Major, BWV 557                                            

While scholars dispute whether it was Bach himself or one of his pupils who wrote the Eight Little Preludes and Fugues, or even whether they were first intended for organ, they have enjoyed enduring popularity among students of the master. Staples of the teaching literature, they are also used frequently as postludes for church services because of their brevity and joyful spirit.


Trudy Barnes – Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich, BWV 605 from the Orgelbuchlein (audio)

The Orgelbuchlein is a set of 45 chorale preludes for organ written between 1708 and 1715, when Bach served as organist in Weimar. The collection, spanning the liturgical year, freely explores beloved Lutheran chorales, giving them motivic accompaniments and providing music not only for the church service, but also for the developing and the concertizing organist. “Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich” is a German carol dating from the fourteenth century: O hail this brightest day of days, All good Christian people! For Christ hath come upon our ways, Ring it from the steeple!


Becky Azera – Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, BWV 638 from the Orgelbuchlein

“Es ist das Heil uns kommen her,” translated “Salvation now has come for all,” was originally published in the 1524 Lutheran hymnal. Bach used this chorale in several of his cantatas and worked it into this chorale prelude from the Orgelbuchlein.

Vai Hafoka – Concerto No. 3 in B Minor (Johann Gottfried Walther, arr. Kevin Norris), III. Allegro

Johann Gottfried Walther, cousin to Johann Sebastian Bach, was respected in his day as an organist, theorist, composer, and most significantly, as compiler of the Musicalisches Lexicon, the first dictionary of music and musicians in the German language.

Vita Hafoka – Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 551 (from the Eight Short Preludes and Fugues), attributed to J. S. Bach

In contrast to the more familiar, two-movement prelude and fugue, the Prelude and Fugue in A minor (BWV 551) is an early work, following the model of Buxtehude, in which distinct contrasting styles, such as the fugue and the fantasia, are interspersed.

Neil Harmon – Three Schubler Chorales, BWV 646, 648, and 649                           

The six Schubler Chorales were compiled by Bach himself in 1747 from earlier cantatas. As very few of his works were published in his lifetime, his selection of this set for engraving indicates his opinion of its musical significance. Each is based on a Lutheran hymn and each is scored for organ with two manuals and pedals. Although the beloved “Wachet auf” is the best known of the set, each of these three chorales bear the unmistakable stamp of the master.

“Wo soll ich fliehen hin” (BWV 646) comes from a setting of “Where shall I flee?” by the German Baroque poet Johann Herrmann.

“Meine Seele erhebt den Herren” (BWV 648) originates with Martin Luther’s translation of the Magnificat: “My soul doth magnify the Lord.”

“Ach, bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ” (BWV 649) is a setting of the hymn, “Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide.”

 Lori Serr – Toccata in D minor, BWV 538 (Dorian)                                                

This toccata, from the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, was written without a key signature, thus implying the Dorian mode. An energetic concert piece, it begins with a sixteenth-note figure that continues uninterrupted to the end, showcasing through manual changes the great breadth of the instrument.