Secrets of Organ Playing Contest Week 104 submission: Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich, BWV 609 from Orgelbuchlein by J.S. Bach

Another Orgelbuchlein prelude for the contest this week. I skipped over BWV 608 last week--I just got tired of trying to learn it as it wasn't coming quickly enough. A certain impatience on my part, so I will go back to it later. Also, I realized that I will not finish up the Orgelbuchlein this year, but it will continue into next year. Ah, well. Only 3 left after this week.

This prelude is again a short one, lasting just under a minute. It is similar to many of the other chorale preludes in the Orgelbuchlein. The original chorale melody is sustained in the upper most voice while a much faster accompaniment occurs in the lower voices. This being said, it is an amazing piece as a teaching tool--how to keep multiple contrapuntal lines under control. So, while the "soprano" line holds the chorale melody, the lower two parts (alto and tenor, if you will) have interweaving countermelodies based on a descending four note motive that is constantly manipulated. Keeping the lines straight in the hands is difficult enough! Then add in the walking pedal part (bass) moving at half of the speed of the alto and tenor. There were several times I simply wanted to pull my hair out as I lost track of one of the lines. And all for just under a minute of music.

Being a piece about joy and Christmas (the title of the piece translates roughly to "Praise God, you Christains, all together"), I chose a sturdy plenum of foundation stops (8', 4', 2', and Mixture IV) on the Great supplimented with a Nachthorn 8' and Koppel Flute 4' from the Choir. This particular instrument at First United Methodist Church in Sioux City has this wonderful 16' Flugelhorn that I coupled with the pedal registration of 16', 8', and 4' Principal stops.

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