Author Topic: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ  (Read 7333 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Paul Duffy

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 67
  • Karma: +15/-0
    • View Profile
Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« on: November 30, 2013, 01:23:34 PM »
[Apologies to those who already know what follows. I am a bit slow on the uptake and have only just worked this out!]

Bach's famous Chorale Prelude on Wachet Auf is clearly written for a three-manual instrument, which is why I have always steered clear of it. Rummaging through some old music the other day, I came across the piece and decided to find a workaround for a two-manual organ.  At first I thought I could pull it off by switching stops on the Swell from string accompaniment to oboe for the chorale melody. This didn't work and disrupted the flow of the music. Playing the opening melody and accompaniment on the same manual didn't work either, but I discovered that it would work if I moved the melody line up an octave, returning it to the original pitch when the chorale melody comes in on the Swell. It's not perfect, but it is better than not playing it at all!

Best wishes,
Paul



revtonynewnham

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 985
  • Karma: +67/-1
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2013, 05:09:42 PM »
Hi

I fail to understand your post Paul, BWV645 is shown for 2 manuals in the Barrnenreiter (SP?) edition, and in other versions that I've seen in the past. Where does the 3rd manual come in?

Every Blessing

Tony

Paul Duffy

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 67
  • Karma: +15/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2013, 05:56:30 PM »
Hello Tony,

It appears I have an unusual version which adds an accompaniment to Bach's writing. No wonder it was bloody hard to learn!

This whole topic is thus rendered pointless. What an idiot.... ::)


Paul.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 06:27:08 PM by Paul Duffy »

David Pinnegar

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1656
  • Karma: +66/-3
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2013, 06:52:31 PM »
Dear Paul

A friend wanted me to play it at her funeral many years ago but I found it hard to master also . . . so you're not alone. However, you might have an interesting edition which may be of interesting variety.  . . . so very much a worthwhile topic!

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

revtonynewnham

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 985
  • Karma: +67/-1
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2013, 09:17:49 AM »
Hi Paul

That's the problem when people try to improve on the works of the masters.  I have a bit issue with the various arrangements of early English organ music - the original (especially on an appropriate organ) sounds so much better.

And don't worry, as someone I knew used to say "The person who never made a mistake never made anything".

Every Blessing

Tony

Paul Duffy

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 67
  • Karma: +15/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2013, 07:26:02 PM »
David, I intend to burn this edition of mine. Not only has it made me look a complete berk but I have wasted a lot of time and energy learning an unauthentic version, when I could have learned the simpler original much quicker.

Thanks for the kind words, Tone. My mistake was being born. I feel that more than ever these days.

Best wishes,
Paul.

Ian van Deurne

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 43
  • Karma: +11/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2013, 10:40:16 AM »
Hi!

I too had a copy of this (from where it came I can't remember) which had the chorale melody written out in four voices. I think it was produced to enable a full choir to sing while the organist played the original part. In this case it probably would be better to use three manuals, unless of course the choir is trained well enough to sing it unaccompanied.

The other point is that BWV 645 is one of the only pieces by Bach where he left (some?) details for registration;

Ruckpositiv:  Rohrflote 8', Sesquialtera II   (12, 17 - non repeating).
Oberwerk: Fagott 8'
Pedal: Subbass 16'  (no 8' or couplers are mentioned).


Best wishes
Ian.
 

revtonynewnham

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 985
  • Karma: +67/-1
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2013, 12:17:19 PM »
Hi

The origin of the piece is a chorale from Bach's cantata of the same name.  I've got a score somewhere (I had to study it for an exam way back in the late '60's!).  The version that he used for the Chorale Prelude is, IIRC, taken from around the middle of the cantata, and the finale is the chorale in 4-part harmonly plus organ - not sure without looking it up if the organ part is "fancy" in the finale, but I don't think it is.

It's a piece that has been arranged for different instrumental forces (and no doubt various organ arrangements exist) - I've got a version for recorder & piano, and a recording (on LP) of Peter Hurford & John Williams (IIRC) playing a version for organ & classical guitar - and that's just 2 examples.  Hurford expands on the organ part in tat one.

Every Blessing

Tony

David Pinnegar

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1656
  • Karma: +66/-3
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2013, 01:05:46 PM »
Dear Paul

I'm worried by your despondency. Life is a challenge and noone really but oneself cares about how one looks. Were you not to have raised this thread then a lot of things of interest would not have come to life and light, so you've been brilliant and most helpful. How boring the world would be if no-one discussed anything for fear of being wrong or looking as though they didn't know everything! Then nor would anyone refine their ideas either? So life is so much about throwing such concerns of how one looks to the outside world to the wind and simply getting stuck in, even if with two heavy boots in mud . . .

How one is only you know, and how one looks is everyone else's mistake if that is all they take you for.

Elsewhere I have probably commented on the story of the Israelites coming out of Egypt. Because we are a materially oriented people nowadays we send mycologists out to Sinai to see if God fed them on mushrooms for breakfast every day for 40 years . . . but having now fed for 40 years on Godfood, of the mind, since around the age of ten, I'm suffering the illusion of coming to the mental land of milk and honey, which is why without embarrassment or inhibition, nor worry about anyone telling me I'm wrong, I talk about it. That story of the waters breaking is a birth story . . . and in that we breathe and breathe life.

In talking about it, I make mistakes and then find that those mistakes add up to something rather interesting. The other evening I was talking about the importance of the Sacred Name which being Sacred, one does not pronounce, and which is the Breath of Life which Jesus breathed over his disciples "spreading the Holy Spirit". "That wasn't some ectoplasm that you and I can't see, it was the idea, the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law, that which gives life that we all share". For some reason I jumped to Genesis "Didn't God breathe over the face of the waters?" and my friend remarked that his spirit moved over the face of the waters . . . So I felt as you describe feeling yourself.

Then he remarked "But in Latin Spiritus means also breath" - so yes - God did breathe over the face of the waters. . . . So we both learned something by my having got it technically wrong.

And in that story isn't there something magic as we all know that the wind blowing over the sea gives oxygen which gives life to the water. . . .

So I celebrate being wrong, because in that is life!

So hopefully all who share their ideas, strengths, weaknesses, certainties and frailties on this forum might find life. Life through the spirit of the organ, the spiritus, that breath flowing through its pipes . . . and associated understanding.

And for all who think I'm wrong, please forgive me and help me to do better. I love the maxim of Islam Verse (41:34) http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=41&verse=34 of replacing bad by that which is better. And in doing so, I jump with both feet in heavy boots into mud. Flanders and Swann are to be celebrated!

Best wishes

David P

In looking at the text one must bear in mind that Jerusalem, and Zion, are the higher mind, that place of Paradise from which we come, Heaven in the skies of our being, and that "your mother's house" might be our active brain in our bodily earthly life . . .

http://www.emmanuelmusic.org/notes_translations/translations_cantata/t_bwv140.htm

Awake, calls the voice to us
of the watchmen high up in the tower;
awake, you city of Jerusalem.
Midnight the hour is named;
they call to us with bright voices;
where are you, wise virgins?
Indeed, the Bridegroom comes;
rise up and take your lamps,
Alleluia!
Make yourselves ready
for the wedding,
you must go to meet Him.

2. Recitative T
He comes, He comes,
the Bridegroom comes,
O Zion's daughters, come out,
his course runs from the heights
into your mother's house.
The Bridegroom comes, who like a roe
and young stag
leaps upon the hills;
to you He brings the wedding feast.
Rise up, take heart,
to embrace the bridegroom;
there, look, He comes this way.

3. Aria - Duet S B (Dialogue - Soul, Jesus)
When will You come, my Savior?
  - I come, as Your portion. -
I wait with burning oil.
Now open the hall
  - I open the hall -
for the heavenly meal.
Come, Jesus!
  - I come, come, lovely soul! -

4. Chorale T
Zion hears the watchmen sing,
her heart leaps for joy within her,
she wakens and hastily arises.
Her glorious Friend comes from heaven,
strong in mercy, powerful in truth,
her light becomes bright, her star rises.
Now come, precious crown,
Lord Jesus, the Son of God!
Hosannah!
We all follow
to the hall of joy
and hold the evening meal together.

5. Recitative B
So come in to Me,
you My chosen bride!
I have to you
eternally betrothed Myself.
I will set you upon My heart,
upon My arm as a seal,
and delight your troubled eye.
Forget, O soul, now
the fear, the pain
which you have had to suffer;
upon My left hand you shall rest,
and My right hand shall kiss you.

6. Aria - Duet S B (Dialogue - Soul, Jesus)
My Friend is mine,
  - and I am yours, -
love will never part us.
I will with You
  - you will with Me -
graze among heaven’s roses,
where complete pleasure and delight will be.

7. Chorale
Let Gloria be sung to You
with mortal and angelic tongues,
with harps and even with cymbals.
Of twelve pearls the portals are made,
In Your city we are companions
Of the angels high around Your throne.
No eye has ever perceived,
no ear has ever heard
such joy
like our happiness,
Io, io,
eternally in dulci jubilo!
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

Paul Duffy

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 67
  • Karma: +15/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2013, 08:54:14 PM »
David,

If I am being honest with myself, I am, by nature, a person who is easily discouraged. And, I am as image-conscious as the rest of society, though I could not care less about material things. I am also impatient and feel I am on the verge of a mental breakdown at times. About a month or two ago, I experienced something that led me to draw three conclusions as to the source: 1. God, 2. Prescription drugs, 3. Madness (not Suggs and Co. but going tonto). The fear of looking like a prat coupled with my impatience now steers me more in the direction of options two or three (or two causing three, lol*) though at the time it happened I was firmly of the opinion it was option one. You see, I am as image-conscious as Katie Price and her bakelite boobs....

Thanks for your kind words, but I really should have done some research instead of trying to appear clever.

Best wishes,
Paul.

*I hate text-speak, but this seemed appropriate in context.)
« Last Edit: December 02, 2013, 09:06:25 PM by Paul Duffy »

David Pinnegar

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1656
  • Karma: +66/-3
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2013, 11:47:13 PM »
Dear Paul, And others being driven nuts by Watchet Auf,

Then throwing caution to the wind in the spirit of (1) and (3) just think envisioning all those maidens floating before your very eyes whilst playing  . . . and fantasise yourself as the bridegroom . . . Paradise awaits . . .

A casual reading of the text could lead to much hilarity . . .

Perhaps organ music might be more popular if texts were to accompany organ music more . . .

Best wishes

David P

« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 10:30:18 AM by David Pinnegar »
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

pcnd5584

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 254
  • Karma: +23/-3
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2013, 04:35:21 PM »

The other point is that BWV 645 is one of the only pieces by Bach where he left (some?) details for registration;

Ruckpositiv:  Rohrflote 8', Sesquialtera II   (12, 17 - non repeating).
Oberwerk: Fagott 8'
Pedal: Subbass 16'  (no 8' or couplers are mentioned).


Best wishes
Ian.

Are you sure these are by Bach?

The 'gap' registration (8ft. flute and then nothing in between that and a Sesquialtera) would be unusual for that time. This si not to say that Bach was not thoroughly capable of being inventive - or simply throwing the rule book out of the window. However, I have two editions of this (both for two claviers), and in neither is any registration given - other than as  editorial suggestions.
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

revtonynewnham

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 985
  • Karma: +67/-1
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2013, 09:51:19 AM »
Hi

The Barenreiter urtext edition doesn't show any registrations.

Every Blessing

Tony

pcnd5584

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 254
  • Karma: +23/-3
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2013, 01:40:23 PM »
Hi

The Barenreiter urtext edition doesn't show any registrations.

Every Blessing

Tony

Indeed. Aside from a couple of 'Organo pleno' markings, the only other of which I am aware, is that in the Orgelbüchlein, on the Chorale Prelude Gott. durch deine Güte (or Gottes Sohn ist kommen). and these are fairly boring* (although I always play this piece at Advent, using the nearest equivalent registration). Does anyone know of any others which are likely to be by Bach?



* Clav. Principal 8 Fuß. Pedalclav. Trompete 8 Fuß.
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

Ian van Deurne

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 43
  • Karma: +11/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Playing Bach's 'Wachet Auf' on a two-manual organ
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2014, 03:23:31 PM »
The registration I quoted apparently comes from an early copy made by Bach himself, perhaps for a performance by another organist, I'm not certain but will try to find out next time I'm in Leipzig, for that's where the MS resides. There is nothing whatsoever unusual about this registration in Germany in the 18th century. The other thing you have to remember is that Bach was known in his own time for many of his somewhat unusual registration practises anyway. For instance, there is a quote by a music critic who was present during Bach's opening concert on the new organ in the Castle Church at Altenburg, built by Tobias Heinrich Gottfried Trost in 1739, of which he was one of the advisers during its construction, where he reportedly played the Praeludium and Triple Fugue in E flat-Major (552) in public for the first time, and where the organ was described as being played "in full voice". (Organo pleno?)   

The same critic also commented on another piece he played at the same concert, another of his own compositions where he drew all the 8ft flue stops on both manuals and coupled them together, and lets face it, this organ has more than its fair share of 8ft ranks, (and 16ft too), which proves to some extent Bach's fondness for not only a good selection of reeds (including a 32' Posaune which this organ also contains), but also colourful 8ft flue ranks when he was advising the builder. Tradition suggests that this piece was the Prelude in c-minor (537) but unfortunately this cannot be proven.
A far back at his brief tenure at Muhlhausen, he was known to constantly change registrations during the performance of a single piece, one of the reasons why the first thing he would do when testing a new instrument would be to draw every speaking voice so he could hear "if its lungs were functioning properly". This goes completely against the modern idea that changing registrations during a piece was never done in Barock times, almost forbidden in fact.
Incidently, the original contract for a new organ at the Castle Church was awarded to Gottfried Silbermann in 1735, but due to other commitments, he found he couldn't complete it in time and so 'gave away' the contract to Trost, a minor builder who had his workshops in Bad Langensalza.
The other fact which this organ is famous for is that one of the early organists there was Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713-1780) who was known even in his own time as being Johann Sebastian Bach's "star pupil".

Further to registration practices in the 18th century, I have at home somewhere a registration guide for Silbermann organs which was given to the minister of Fraureuth in 1780 by Adam Gottfried Ohme, who was an apprentice of Silbermann and had just completed a renovation of the instrument.
When I find it I will post it on here.

With best wishes - Ian





 


Locations of visitors to this page

Organ Design


Latroba Holidays