Thursday, October 1, 2009
My regular readers and listeners will know that I tend to draw heavily from hymn-based materials for my service music selections. I take great pleasure in weaving together the hymns and service music in coordination with the choir, readings, and sermon to present a unified message for the week. On some occasions, however, it's a nice change of pace to play a piece from the standard classical organ repertoire, providing a chance to enjoy the music and your own personal silent prayer and meditation.
When you think of Baroque organ music, and in particular German organ music of the 17th and 18th centuries, the only name to spring to mind is likely Bach. If you're a regular reader of my blog or a real music connoisseur, you might know of Buxtehude as well. However, that place and period were a hotbed of organ composition. Bach is the acknowledged master of the craft, but he flourished amid very talented contemporaries.
One of those fellow organ composers was Vincent Lubeck. He was the organist at St. Nikolai in Hamburg, which was home to one of the world's largest organs at the time. Unfortunately, much of his music has been lost over the centuries. There is also added confusion because his son shared his name and profession, and it's unclear whether some pieces were composed by the father or son.
This Sunday, I'll be playing a Prelude and Fugue in a minor believed to be composed by Vincent Senior, splitting it between the prelude before the service and the fugue after. The music demonstrates several characteristics of the period - the ornamentation, virtuosic scales (particularly the opening few measures), and inversion and episodes in the fugue. It may sound like Bach to a casual listener, but it's a great opportunity to expand your repertoire of Baroque organ composers.