baroque organ

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                                          The Sound Of Heaven

1. Baroque organ, St. Jacob’s Cathedral, Innsbruck 

2. Kaliningrad, Russia, Pipe Organ

3. Vienna Synagogue,Vienna Austria

4. Granada Cathedral, Granada Spain

5. Pipe Organ at Lezajsk Basilica Poland

6. Malaga Cathedral. Malaga Spain

7. Jordi Bosch Cathedral Palma De Mallorca Spain

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                                        The Sound Of Heaven (Part 2)

1. La Mezquita, Cordoba Spain

2. Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, Passau Germany

3. Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire England

4. Berlinerdom, Berlin Germany

5. Saint Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney Cathedral

6. Roskilde Cathedral, Zealand Denmark

7. San Giovanni Laterano, Rome Italy

Concerto in D minor for violin, organ and strings RV541, II. Grave
Marcelo Bussi, Manfred Kraemer
Concerto in D minor for violin, organ and strings RV541, II. Grave

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678-1741).

Vivaldi’s music was innovative. He brightened the formal and rhythmic structure of the concerto, in which he looked for harmonic contrasts and innovative melodies and themes; many of his compositions are flamboyantly, almost playfully, exuberant.

The genre of the “Organ Concerto” first evolves in the 18th century, when composers including George Frideric Handel, Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach wrote organ concertos with small orchestras, and with solo parts which rarely call for the organ pedal board.

youtube

Bach - Passacaglia and Fugue in c minor, BWV 582

My blog is about to turn four years old and somehow [somehow!] I haven’t shared one of my favorite works of all time, one of the first pieces I ever heard that got me into Bach, into organ music, into classical music….there’s so much music out there I get caught up in what I happen to be listening to at the time and I ignore a lot of my personal favs. So here is Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue, a piece that we believe was written early in his career. After studying the works of other Baroque organ composers, namely Dieterich Buxtehude and André Raison, Bach built his passacaglia out of similar ostinatos found in the latter’s music. A passacaglia is a set of variations over a bass line, and the ostinato remains the same for the most part while variations are woven over it. The flow from one variation to the next is so natural, like waves, and I agree with Robert Schumann who said "intertwined so ingeniously that one can never cease to be amazed”. The music flows right into the double fugue, where the main passacaglia theme is cut in half and the two parts are played over each other. No surprise that Bach is able to create an awesome fugue out of such a complex subject in a way that sounds effortless. This performance is one that I saw on YouTube years ago that blew my mind. It was one of the first major pieces of classical music I heard and it made me want to explore more.

Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
Andrew Manze, violin
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565

J.S. Bach (attributed)
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565

Andrew Manze, violin
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Even if the disproportionally famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor was in fact written by Bach, it is very likely it was originally scored for solo violin.  Andrew Manze has attempted to recreate such an original.  In his arrangement the piece has been transcribed to the violin-appropriate key of A minor.

youtube

Bach/Busoni - Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C Major, BWV 564

While Bach’s organ works are always awesome, I have a soft spot for Busoni’s piano transcriptions, and sometimes I prefer the transcription to the original. The organ Toccata Adagio and Fugue is one top example. Here, the Toccata is slowed down a bit but the chords are larger and the weight is enough that this absolute instrumental work feels like a spiritual piece. Busoni knew how to work with the piano’s sonorities and bring out the richest sound of the instrument. The toccata is a grand statement, opening with a playful flourish and a bit of a meandering walk along the bass, we go into a very majestic and noble procession. The adagio is like a chorale or a prayer, and Busoni’s use of the bass makes the piece feel very full, without having to be bombastic. The fugue is like a dance, puttering along with a bouncy rhythm, before developing to the grand heights and sonorities of the opening toccata.