J. S. Bach
Präludium und Fuge in D, BWV 532
Präludium und Fuge in G, BWV 541
Präludium in H, BWV 544
Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel herunter, BWV 650
An Wasserflüssen Babylon, BWV 653b, Doppio pedale
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 660

Passacaglia und Fugue in C-moll, BWV 582

One of the great glories of the organ literature, the Pas­sa­cag­lia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582, is found in several man­u­scripts known to have been written before 1710. It was pro­ba­bly composed shortly before Bach began his Weimar tenure, possibly in response to the death of Dietrich Bux­te­hude in 1707. A passacaglia is a form of continuous variations over, under, or around a recurring theme. The first four mea­sures of Bach’s theme are the same as a little pas­sa­cag­lia by André Raison, and also similar to two works, a master of the passacaglia and chaconne forms.
    Bach doubles the four-bar theme, however, and then builds 20 variations on it, a symmetrical complex of equal appeal to head and heart. The theme also bears a possible relationship to the beginning of the Lutheran “Our Father”
L'Organo Piccolo Spoleto,
The Citadel, Charleston, SC, May 29, 2016
Cornell Zimmer, Opus 135.

chorale, according to the Dutch scholar Piet Kee, who be­lieves that the whole Passacaglia is based on the Lord’s Prayer as elaborated in Andreas Werckmeister’s book Paradoxal-Discourse, which was published in 1707.
    When Bach seems to have exhausted all the possibilities of his theme in 20 variations, he then takes those first four measures of it as the main subject in an immediately ensuing fugue, with many new countersubjects. For Bach, fugue is never a purely intellectual conceit, but rather a technique for intensification. Beginning as it does with the vast energies al­ready ac­cum­ulated by the Passacaglia, this fugue ge­ne­rates explosive climactic power and thrust, relentlessly logical, yet expressively exalting.
Stacks Image 130
Bach’s eight-measure theme presented 20 times with variations both above and beneath.

Sonate, h-Moll, BWV 1014
Micah Gangwer, violin;
Damian Kremer, cello;
David Friddle, harpsichord.
St. John the Beloved Concert Series,
Summerville, SC, February 12, 2017
1. Adagio
3. Andante
2. Allegro
4. Allegro

J. S. Bach spent most of his career as a church musician, cranking out a prodigious quantity of cantatas, oratorios, passions, and organ music to meet the inexorable demands of the liturgical calendar. But his contemporaries knew him best as a virtuoso on the organ and harpsichord. By all ac­counts, his keyboard technique was extraordinarily e­co­no­mi­cal. “Bach is said to have played with so easy and small a mo­tion of the fingers that it was hardly perceptible,” wrote his biographer Johann Nikolaus Forkel. In addition, the composer learned to play the violin as a child-probably from his father, a town piper in Eisenach-and kept it up for the rest of his life.
    Bach was in his early 30s and already enjoyed widespread renown as an organist when he accepted an appointment as Kapellmeister, or director of music, to Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen in 1717. The young composer felt lucky to be in the employ of “a gracious Prince who both loved and knew music.” It was during his six happy years in Köthen that Bach wrote much of his most beloved instrumental music, in­clu­ding the Six “Brandenburg” Concertos, the four orchestral suites, the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier, the solo suites and sonatas for unaccompanied violin and cello, and the six sonatas for violin and keyboard, BWV 1014–1019.
    Bach’s early chamber music for violin was no doubt written for a member of the small but excellent court orchestra at Köthen. Although Bach himself, according to his son Carl Philipp Emanuel, played the violin “clearly and penetratingly,” it is questionable whether his technique was equal to the daun­ting challenges posed by his own music for the in­stru­ment. One can easily imagine, however, the composer work­ing out intricate passages on his fine violin by Jacob Stainer, a leading violin maker of the Baroque period. Bach’s pro­fi­ciency on both string and keyboard instruments proved useful when he became director of the Leipzig collegium musicum in 1729 and began presenting regular concerts of secular music to a paying public.
    The Sonate für Violino und Continuo were probably composed in Cöthen (1717–1723), and revived by the Leipzig Collegium Musicum after Bach became its director in 1729. To a large extent Bach followed the format of the Italian trio sonata, that is two upper voices and a continuo

accompaniment. Bach gave one of the two upper voices to the harpsichord (right hand), thus giving a concertato role to the instrument. He goes further than the traditional format in giving more than one upper voice to the harpsichordist’s right hand in some instances, and other variant formats.
    For the first five sonatas the succession of move­ments follows the sonata da chiesa four-move­ment model, that is starting with a slow move­ment, followed by a fast move­ment, and again a slow and a fast movement. The last sonata starts with an Allegro. After a few slow and fast movements, the sonata ends with an Allegro. BWV 1014 is considered history’s very first modern duo sonata.Within the framework of the sonata da chiesa, Bach explores diverse forms such as those of the aria and the concerto.

Franz Liszt
Fantasie und Fuge über den chorale “Ad nos salutarem undam” S. 259 Moderato—Allegro—Tempo giusto Recitativo—Adagio Allegro deciso—Allegretto con moto (Fugue)—Adagio
Gebet (Ave Maria), S.20
L'Organo Piccolo Spoleto,
The Citadel, Charleston, SC, May 29, 2016
Cornell Zimmer, Opus 135.

In February 1847, Franz Liszt met the Princess Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein while giving concerts in Kiev. Already separated from the husband to whom she had been married when only 17, Carolyne fell in love with the pianist, who was also at a personal crossroads. Weary from almost a decade of constant touring, Liszt completed some further en­gage­ments and then abandoned the public concert stage as a pianist, staying with Carolyne on her Ukrainian estate from the fall of 1847 until January 1848, when the couple left for Weimar.
    Years before, the Grand Duke Carl Alexander had offered Liszt the post of Kapellmeister-in-Extraordinary, an ap­peal­ingly grandiose music directorship that Liszt’s relentless touring precluded accepting. Now Liszt wanted to devote himself more to composition. Weimar offered him an or­chest­ra and an opera house, and a kindred spirit in the Grand Duke, with whom Liszt hoped to create an “Athens of the North.” This dream went unfulfilled, but Liszt wrote some of his finest music during the 18 years he spent in Weimar.
    Much of Liszt’s organ music comes from this period. Previously he had been an organ dabbler, interested in the instrument and playing privately on pedal pianos. His only known public performance on organ had come in 1843, when he played a benefit program at a church in Moscow. In

Weimar Liszt found himself particularly close to the spirit of J.S. Bach who had lived and worked in Weimar more than a century before as an employee of Duke Wilhelm Ernst, a direct ancestor of Carl Alexander. Bach’s complete organ works had been published for the first time in 1844, and among the earliest works that Liszt completed in Weimar were trans­criptions for piano of six of Bach’s Preludes and Fugues for organ.
    The first of Liszt’s organ works, however, was directly inspired not by Bach but by Giacomo Meyerbeer and the huge success of his opera Le prophète in 1849. The following year Liszt wrote a
Fantasy and Fugue on the Chorale “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam,” the rabble-rousing call to repentance and re-baptism that the three Anabaptists sing in Act I of Le prophète. This is a monumental work in sound and time, a work that grafted Liszt’s transcendental piano technique, flair for orchestral color, and ideas about thematic transformation onto the formal models of Bach’s organ music. There were more recent examples for Liszt—Mendelssohn’s three Pre­ludes and Fugues and six organ Sonatas, and Robert Schumann’s works for pedal piano, par­ti­cularly the six Fugues on the Name of Bach—but this was an utterly distinctive work in its virtuoso spirit and vast scale.

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Meyerbeer’s theme from his opera Le Prophète, which Liszt uses to create a three-movement, half-hour work—the first organ “symphony” in the literature.

    Unlike many of Bach’s works with a bipartite title—Prelude and Fugue, Fantasy and Fugue, Toccata and Fugue—Liszt’s Ad nos Fantasy and Fugue is really in three main parts. The opening “Fantasy” states the theme plainly in C minor and then takes it through a creative rush of transformations and contrasting textures. It comes to a close in a recitative section, and then takes lyrical flight in a warm “Adagio” in F-sharp major, the key Liszt favored for exalted religious subjects and as remote as possible from the flat keys dominating the “Fantasy.” The martial and freely developed “Fugue” returns the music to C minor, before closing with the chorale blazing away in C major.
    This may have been altogether too original for practical use, at least immediately. (The pedal part was probably beyond Liszt’s own abilities.) In December of 1851 Liszt wrote to his publisher, Breitkopf and Härtel, offering to make known, “as a kind of curiosity, a very long piece I composed last winter on the chorale ‘Ad nos’ from Le prophète. If by chance you should think it well to publish this long Prelude,

followed by an equally long Fugue, I could not be otherwise than much obliged to you...but I dare not press you too much for fear that you may think that my Fugue has more advantage in remaining unknown to the public in so far that it is in manuscript, than if it had to submit to the same fate after having been published by your care.”
    Breitkopf and Härtel did publish the Fantasy and Fugue in 1852 (as well as a solo piano version), and Liszt’s fears proved well-founded. It did not have its premiere until 1855, when Alexander Winterberger played it for the inauguration for a new organ in the Merseburg Cathedral. Built by Friedrich Landegast, this instrument was much the largest in Germany at the time, with 5,686 pipes and 37 chimes. Liszt had a new piece in mind for the occasion, a Prelude and Fugue on B-A-C-H (in German solfege syllables Bach’s name yields the pitches B-flat, A, C, and B-natural), but that work was not finished. Liszt coached Winterberger extensively on Ad nos, and Winterberger toured it and the completed B-A-C-H Prelude and Fugue (which Liszt dedicated to him) the following season to rave reviews.

Josef Rheinberger
Suite for Violin and Organ, Opus 166
1. Präludium
3. Allemande
Micah Gangwer, violin;
Damian Kremer, cello;
David Friddle, organ.
2. Canzone
4. Moto perpetuo
L'Organo Piccolo Spoleto,
The Citadel, Charleston, SC, May 29, 2016
Cornell Zimmer, Opus 135.

Suite for Violin, Cello and Organ, Opus 149
1. Con moto
3. Sarabande
2. Thema mit Veränderungen
4. Finale

Les hommes français
Jean Langlais: Dialogue sur les mixtures
César Franck: Prélude, Fugue et Variation
Frank Bridge: Adagio in E
Louis Vierne: Carillon
©2021 David Friddle               Drop me a line, why don't you?