Yesterday, I played my little heart out for Advent I. The Bach prelude went pretty well.
This piece (Trio super Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland BWV 660) is rather tricky as it is a trio with imitative entrances on the opening melody of Savior of the Nations in two unusually low accompanying voices and a beautiful ornamented solo voice. I managed to pull off this my first public performance of this great work. There were several formal organ type hymns in this service. I was satisfied with my execution on these.
The anthem was an adaptation of the famous “Zion hears the watchmen calling” from Cantata 140 by Bach.
It was dropped a third into the key of the hymn. The organ kept the bass and obbligato going while the choir came in with the chorale melody intermittently. This was a very exposed organ part. Usually if one is doing two independent parts like this it makes sense to do them both with your hands instead of doing one with the pedal and one with the manual. Unfortunately, my organ is so limited that there was no set of pipes that would encompass the bass played on the manual. So the only way to do it was with pedal.
The choir dependably brought itself in, as I found playing the accompaniment took all my concentration and wasn’t able to do much conducting even though I had a hand free. This came off pretty well. I put the obbligato in the flute 8′ which is one of the beautiful stops on the organ. It is gentle. I hope the whole thing came off kind of gentle but beautiful.
The postlude was another Bach setting of “Nun Komm” (BWV 661).This is a setting for full organ in which the melody enters in a bombastic bass pedal part. I made some very silly (and new) mistakes in the exposed beginning. Ah well. Most of it went fine. Again it was the first time I had played this piece of repertoire in public.
Saturday night found me working carefully over these organ parts.
One does wonder about putting so much effort into stuff like this. I guess it is good for me to challenge myself. I am still feeling fatigued from the weeks from hell when I was juggling three part time gigs. When I am tired, my tolerance for silly religious stuff seems to be lower. And of course the impending Christmas commercial deluge doesn’t help.
Next week I am seriously considering playing the congas on the choral anthem for the day, “Keep your lamps.”
I tried it yesterday with the choir. It would be my first time playing and conducting from the congas. That appeals to me. Heh.