June 4, 2002
Vol. II, No. 20
"Food for Thought"
I received an email last week from Patrick Allen, informing me that, due to popular demand, Grace Church here in New York City is expanding its Wednesday lunchtime Bach organ concerts from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. Click here for more info:
This good news should inspire all of us to plan an all-Bach recital for the fall. Just one, maybe a half hour, after church. We have all summer to prepare. For years now, I've been seeing recital programs with only a token prelude and fugue or, sadly, without any Bach at all. I firmly believe that if we're ever going to spark the public's musical imagination and fill the organ recital halls again, we need to program more Bach, for both recitals and services.
When E. Power Biggs turned the masses on to the pipe organ, I believe it was largely through the music of J.S. Bach. That was certainly the case with Virgil Fox. Bach speaks to audiences like no other composer can. I receive such overwhelming positive reaction from performing Bach in relation to other composers that I hesitate to program anything else. And that's whether people know it's Bach or not.
That's the audience. As the performer, I'll confess, after the experience of playing Bach, I have had a hard time enjoying playing the music of any other composer. Also, I tend to play favorites like the Toccata & Fugue in D Minor and the Fugue in G Minor. I'm not sure how many times a day I'd have to play the D Minor to be sick of it, if indeed that would ever happen. How often do audiences get to hear the D Minor anyway? Could they hear it once a month without tiring of it? Once a week? Once a year?!?
Bach is good food. Food for the soul. Food for the mind. Feed your flock!
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Have a great week and play some Bach!
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