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J.S. Bach’s Orgelbüchlein, BWV 599–644

In celebration of Bach’s 334th birthday, Associate Director of Music Raymond Nagem presents his complete Orgelbüchlein, or Little Organ Book. Bach inscribed this collection of chorale preludes with a rustic couplet in German: roughly, “In praise of God’s almighty will / And for my neighbor’s greater skill,” and each of these 46 preludes embody this dual purpose. Eminently practical for use in church, and indispensable to organ students for technical development, each prelude is at the same time a tiny jewel of musical sophistication, comparable to the engravings of Dürer or the sonnets of Shakespeare. With tremendous skill and psychological insight, Bach paints a picture in notes based on the text and music of each chorale, ranging from the fluttering of angels’ wings at Bethlehem, to the drooping of Christs’ body on the Cross, to the pealing church bells of New Year’s Day. Come journey through the liturgical year with Bach with these exquisite pieces, played by Dr. Nagem on the magnificent Great Organ of St. John the Divine.

Follow Dr. Nagem’s journey as he prepares each piece from this incredible work on his blog. He’ll be highlighting one Orgelbüchlein prelude per day for the 45 days leading up to the concert.

This event is presented in conjunction with The Value of Sanctuary: Building a House Without Walls.