William Whitehead and Fred Thomas Trio

Clifton International Festival of Music

The Orgelbüchlein Project

Bednall Ich dank’ dir schon durch deinen Sohn (World premiere)
Matthews Kommt her zu mir spricht Gottes Sohn (World premiere)
J S Bach Herr Christ, der ein’ge Gottessohn
J S Bach Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar

The Orgelbüchlein is a small manuscript containing forty-six chorale preludes for organ, emanating mainly from the Bach’s early Weimar period. The puzzle is that the manuscript is only a quarter complete, for reasons unknown. The Orgelbüchlein Project, curated by William Whitehead, seeks to complete the manuscript by commissioning contemporary composers to take the given, but missing, chorale melodies as the basis of new preludes to fill in the gaps. The idea for each composer is to reflect and refract the techniques and Affekts of Orgelbüchlein for the modern age. Three world premieres of pieces contributing to this project are heard in this performance.

In this unique performance William Whitehead combines with the Fred Thomas Trio to engage with and expand the colouristic possibilities of these great Preludes, as they present a grand Orgelbüchlein Palindrome; we’ll hear a journey away from the organ Prelude in D minor, BWV 539, through various Orgelbüchlein Preludes played in tennis match fashion between Trio and Organ, to the central point of the concert, the new commissions. Rolling back from here towards the Fugue in D minor, we hear the same Preludes played in complementarity, cast in a new light. What was first sounded by the Trio is answered by the organ and vice versa. We hope you enjoy overhearing this intimate conversation.

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