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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Before Bach's Birthday Bash

Saturday, March 16, 2019



Bach’s Birthday…it comes around every year in on March 21 and often also falls on the first day of Spring. The occasion calls out for a celebration of this most remarkable of musical talents, and a number of years ago Minnesota Public Radio’s Michael Barone (host of Pipedreams) decided that Johann Sebastian Bach deserved something special. He and colleagues from the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists arranged a Bach’s Birthday Bash, and the idea blossomed.

When the Bach birthday does not fall on a Saturday, the celebration is held early and becomes a Before Bach’s Birthday Bash! This year’s activities feature five free hour-long public concerts of Bach’s music, presented at five different venues on or adjacent Summit Avenue in Saint Paul during the morning and afternoon of Saturday, March 16, 2019. BBBB events have become something of a local tradition, with enthusiasts from all parts of the state either participating or just listening.

What initially were concerts only of Bach organ works now have branched out to include other instruments. This year, Bach’s compositions for viola, flute, cello, and solo and accompanying keyboard (piano) are included in the mix. TCAGO performers from the Twin Cities area will be joined by students from the University of Minnesota and members of the National Lutheran Choir, Lyra Baroque Orchestra, and Bach Society of Minnesota However, the focus remains on performances by TCAGO members playing some excellent local examples of Bach's Royal Instrument, the pipe organ, with instruments built by the firms of Wicks, Casavant, Aeolian-Skinner, Noack and Fisk on display.

You’re invited to be part of the throng on Saturday, March 16 for preludes and fugues, chorale settings, dance suites and variations, partitas and trio sonatas. We start with a live 9AM Classical MPR broadcast from the Summit Center for Art and Innovation (1524 Summit Avenue) which you can hear on KSJN-99.5FM and live-streamed at classicalmpr.org.

We’ll work our way east on Summit Avenue through the rest of the day, next to St. Thomas More Church (10:30AM, Summit Avenue at Lexington Avenue). Then, after a lunch break, we continue at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church (1:00PM, 901 Portland Avenue), Unity Unitarian Church (2:30PM, 732 Holly Avenue), winding up at House of Hope Presbyterian Church (4PM, 797 Summit Avenue) with a transcription from Bach’s Orchestral Suite in D.

I hope you can join us…on the radio or, better, in the audience!

Only the 9AM morning program will be broadcast, but all events are free-admission. So come for one and stay for all…the Bach Immersion Experience is incredible.


Performances will take place as follows:

9AM-10AM – Summit Center for Art and Innovation (1524 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul) 1976 Wicks organ – live MPR broadcast

J. S. BACH:  Prelude in C, BWV 545
–David Fienen, organ

BACH:  French Suite No. 2 in c, BWV 813
Allemande – Courante – Sarabande – Air – Menuet – Gigue
–Joseph Kyung Jun Park, piano (student of Kyung Kim)

BACH:  Domine Deus, fr Mass in A, BWV 234
–Thomas Meglioranza, baritone; Lucinda Marvin, violin; Charles Asch, cello;
Jacques Ogg, harpsichord - members and Artistic Director of Lyra Baroque Orchestra

BACH:  Partita in a for Solo Flute (Recorder), BWV 1013
Allemande – Courante – Sarabande – Bourrée angloise
–Matthias Maute, recorder (director, Bach Society of MN)

BACH:  Chorales and Orgelbüchlein Chorale-preludes
Vater unser im Himmelreich, BWV 636; Wer nur den lieben Gott, BWV 642
–David Cherwien, organ; National Lutheran Choir/Adam Reinwald, assistant conductor

BACH:  Motet, Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden, BWV 230
–National Lutheran Choir/David Cherwien, conductor

BACH:  Fugue in C, BWV 545
–David Fienen, organ


10:30AM-11:30AM – St. Thomas More Church (1079 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul) 1926 Casavant organ

BACH:  Toccata & Fugue in d, BWV 565
–John Varona, organ

BACH:  Chorale-prelude, Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 654
–David Lim, organ

GEORG PHILIP TELEMANN:  2 Fantasies (in D and b) for Solo Flute
–Immanuel Davis, traverso

BACH:  Fugue in c, BWV 575; 3 Schübler Chorale-preludes
(Wachet auf, BWV 645; Wo soll ich fliehen Hin; BWV 646; Ach, beib bei uns, BWV 649)
–Joel Anderson, organ

BACH:  Prelude and Fugue (Wedge) in e, BWV 548
–Stephen Self, organ


LUNCH BREAK – 11:30AM-1:00PM


1:00PM-2:00PM – St. Clement's Episcopal Church (901 Portland Avenue, Saint Paul) 1964 Aeolian-Skinner organ

BACH:  Toccata and Fugue in d, BWV 538
–Adrian Volovets, organ

BACH:  3 Chorale-preludes (Komm, heiliger Geist, BWV 631; Herzlich tut mich verlangen,
BWV 727; In dulci jubilo, BWV 729)
–Paschal Givot, organ

BACH:  Allemande, Bouree I, Bouree II, fr Solo Cello Suite No. 3 in C, BWV 1009
–Walter Cogswell, viola

BACH:  Pastorale, BWV 590
–Bill Wilson, organ

BACH (trans. W. T. Best):  Grand Fugue in C, fr Sonata No. 3 for Solo Violin, BWV 1005
–Nils Halker, organ


2:30PM-3:30PM – Unity Unitarian Church (732 Holly Avenue, Saint Paul) 1965 Noack organ

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (trans. Rosler):  Prelude & Fugue in c, Op. 37, no. 1
BACH (trans. Reger):  Overture, to Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C, BWV 1066
–Diana Lee Lucker and Carolyn Diamond, piano 4-hands

BACH:  Trio Sonata No. 5 in C, BWV 529
Allegro – Largo – Allegro
–Stacie Lightner, organ

BACH:  Sonata in G for Gamba and Keyboard, BWV 1027
Adagio – Allegro ma non tanto – Andante – Allegro moderato
–Phoebe Dalton, cello; Sofia Mycyk, piano

BACH:  Prelude and Fugue in d, BWV 539
–Mark Overman, organ


4PM-5PM – House of Hope Presbyterian Church (797 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul) 1979 C. B. Fisk organ

BACH:  Prelude & Fugue (St. Anne) in E-flat, BWV 552
–Emma Todd, organ

BACH:  Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue in d, BWV 903
–Dong-Suk Michael Min, piano (student of Kyung Kim)

DIETERICH BUXTEHUDE:  Praeludium in D, BuxWV 139
–Sean Vogt, organ

BACH:  Chorale-preludes on Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 660-659
–Liisa Keränen, organ

BACH (trans. Miller):  Air and Gigue, fr Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D, BWV 1068
–Aaron David Miller, organ


For more information, contact:
Michael Barone

Happy Birthday, Bach!!

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