Bach is back!

October 6, 2009 at 6:32 pm (Local interest (Baltimore-Washington), Music)

The Bach Concert Series kicked off its 2009-2010 series this past Sunday with a performance of the beloved Cantata 140, “Wachet Auf, ruft uns der stimme” ( “Sleepers Awake”). Maestro  T. Herbert Dimmock began the concert by welcoming all of us back with heartfelt joy.  He then proceeded to enlarge on the musical message inherent in the cantata. And oh, that music!

Here performed in Vienna in 1984 by the Concentus Musicus Vien, under the baton of Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

(Click here for the cantata’s German text; here, for the English translation.)

As is the custom at  these concerts, we the audience were invited to join in the singing of the hymn, which in this case was, naturally, “Wachet auf.” This was followed by the organ solo, always an occasion to look forward to, as the sound of the mighty Andover 114 fills the sanctuary of Christ Lutheran Church. Sunday’s selection, played by Jonathan Parker, was Bach’s “Praeludium and Fugue in C minor, BWV 546.” Here it is, played by Aarnoud de Groen, at the organ of Bethlehemkerk, The Hague,  in the Netherlands:

(A commenter on this video observes: ” The organ looks like a jet liner with wings. Flight is now ready take off with Mr. Bach!”)

The Bach Concert Series has introduced me to some marvelous music of which I was previously unaware. Sunday, for the first time, I heard “E’en so Lord Jesus Quickly Come,” by Paul Manz. Here it is, sung by Robert Hale and Dean Wilder on the album “The Legacy, Volume I”:


The program concluded with a motet by Tchaikovsky: “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Detail from a portrait of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, by Nikolai Dmitrievich Kuznetsov


I recently came across this video of Dinu Lipatti playing Bach’s Partita Number One in B flat BWV  825.

Lipatti was a tremendously gifted musician whose untimely death was a great loss to the musical world. You can read more about him here.


In Sunday’s program notes, Maestro Dimmock shares his brother Jonathan’s thoughts on the music of Bach:  “Bach was a vessel through which the world has been given a unique glimpse of eternity and paradise.”

Statue of Bach in Eisenach, Germany, the city of his birth

Statue of Bach in Eisenach, Germany, the city of his birth


  1. Thomas said,

    I love the great variety of Bach bits and bobs you pulled together. I was just in the Netherlands (including The Hague) but I didn’t manage to hear any of the fabulous organs.

  2. Gabriel Jonson said,

    Yes i agree 🙂

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