A word about Sunday's anthem and organ voluntaries: Tommy Starr has set this Sunday’s BCP Collect prayer as a choral anthem, a common Anglican composing tradition in the spirit of Purcell and Gibbons. In fact, you may discern a channeling of Orlando Gibbons in Tommy’s setting of “O God you declare your almighty power.”
The prelude and communion organ works are a pair of fugues that are the final works of Johann Sebastian Bach. The prelude is fugal chorale prelude that is said to be his last composition that was literally dictated to his son-in-law from Bach's deathbed: “Before your throne I now appear.” The communion fugue is an unfinished portion of Contrapunctus XIV from his Art of Fugue based on the German nomenclature of pitches-B.A.C.H (Bach’s signature farewell to an iconic musical age.) As an unfinished fugue, it ends abruptly. one of his final musical thoughts.
On the last page of the autograph score, C.Ph. E. Bach, who was close by in his father’s last days, noted that his father died before finishing this fugue.Other composers have indeed “finished” Bach’s fugue but that is like singing “Happy Birthday” after the party is over.
This Sunday afternoon I will be in recital at the Heinz Chapel Reuter Organ at 3:00 pm.In a program called “Suites for the Sweet,” I will present a series of pieces of the same title and similar structure by different composers. There are many settings of the same title; e.g. Toccata, Elegy, and Siciliano, or of the same compositional procedure; fugue, ground bass, etc. I will fashion mini suites from these similar titles by diverse composers, ancient and modern, including J. S. Bach, William Walton, Herbert Howells, Johann Pachelbel and others. The recital is free. You would be sweet to attend.