Sunday, May 07 - 2017

5:00 pm Last Words: Bach's final musical expression

Much like the plays of William Shakespeare, the music of Bach represents a summit of human achievement. Throughout his life the organ was the instrument that proved an indispensable musical companion. From his earliest years to his deathbed, there was hardly a time in Bach's life when he was not obliged to play the organ and compose for it. Because of this, the organ works form a centerpiece of his creative evolution and existence. Bach's organ works continue to surprise and astonish three hundred years later. They are the organist's supreme challenge. They are the listener's supreme delight. They are the perfect marriage of humble purpose and high genius. In this series, each performance highlights musical and personal themes throughout Bach's life. This thematic arrangement takes listeners on an intimate journey through these pieces.

This final program in the complete organ works of J. S. Bach brings this series to a close.  Featured is the towering Passacaglia in C minor.  It’s popularity as an organ work has inspired numerous transcriptions for the piano, symphony orchestra, and other instrumental ensembles.  Also featured is the chorale prelude Vor deinen Thron (Before thy throne I now appear).  Of the many pieces Bach wrote, this simple organ chorale is the last piece of music Bach composed as he dictated it from his deathbed to his son.  In this final recital of the season we also hear Bach’s last musical thoughts in this chorale.  


Last Words

Fantasia super Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott, BWV 651 (Come Holy Ghost, Lord God)
Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott, BWV 652
Trio super Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend’, BWV 655 (Lord Christ, turn to us they spirit)
Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist, BWV 667 (Come, God the Creator, Holy Ghost)

Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 634 (Dearest Jesus, we are here to listen to your word)
Wo soll ich fliehen hin, BWV 646 (Whither should I flee?)
Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 633
Wo soll ich fliehen hin, BWV 694
Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 706

Trio Sonata in G major, BWV 530

Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein, BWV 641 (When in the hour of utmost need)
Vor deinen Thron tret’ ich, BWV 668 (Before thy throne I now appear)

Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582


Location: Duke Chapel
Christopher Jacobson

Format: 2018