Friday, March 6, 2009
This Sunday's preludes both hail from the root of our Lutheran musical traditions. First, I'm continuing with my Lenten presentation of selections from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, this time the c minor from his second book. I'll be playing it on the piano instead of the harpsichord, and I'm hopeful that it will make the fugue structure even clearer.
Second, I'll be playing a setting of Luther's hymn of the 10 commandments. Most of you will know that we're singing it on Wednesday nights, and I'll be echoing that melody in the prelude on Sunday morning. The hymn may be unfamiliar now, but it will be returned to its rightful place in our congregation's musical canon by our repetition of it this spring.
Incidentally, I read a brief snippet this week that claimed Bach's later career was "Christianity's gain but...music's loss." The author lamented that Bach was not free to explore all of the musical forms and instruments that were becoming known in his later years. I can't help but disagree and argue that a man who wrote "Soli deo gloria" on so many manuscripts was too devout ever to view his years as a church musician as negative for his musical career.
How do you feel about Bach and his music in the church today? Should we hear more of it? Should we move on to a more contemporary sound? Should we strive for balance? I tend to fall into the latter camp, and I hope you're enjoying the WTC series for Lent!