The week before Easter

Hello again. We’re now in the 4th week of lockdown. This week the sun has shone and it’s been lovely to spend some time in the garden and start working on my tan! This is the week leading up to Easter. Is that Easter Week or is that next week? I’ve never been too sure. I know that last Saturday – the day before Palm Sunday, I should have been playing organ continuo for Eastbourne Choral Society’s performance of J.S.Bach: St John Passion. I think they plan to postpone that till next year.
As organist at St Michaels Church in Lewes, I play a voluntary each Sunday, and I had planned to play most of Brahms’ 11 Chorale Preludes throughout Lent. My copy of the complete organ works of Brahms was given to me by my organ teacher, Robert Weddle (then organist at Coventry Cathedral) back in February 1973 – he wrote my name and the date on the front cover. Although it was new then, the copy quickly started falling apart, so my Dad re-bound it for me – he was very good at that sort of thing (and many other things).  Sadly, as you can see from the photo, it’s had a lot of hard wear and pages are now falling out.
Brahms wrote his 11 Chorale Preludes in 1897, the last year of his life. In fact, they may be the last pieces he wrote. I’ve played about half of them on a regular basis over the years, but I’ve only just decided to complete the set by learning the rest.
This week I’ve just received in the post a new recording gadget, a Sony PCM A10. It’s not for serious recording, but I find it useful to record my practice sometimes so that I can listen back to hear errors, or uneven tempo or just things that I didn’t realise I did, that could be improved. So yesterday, I recorded 3 or the Brahms Preludes and I thought I would share them with you.
Each piece is a Prelude based on a Lutheran Hymn tune. They are old melodies not sung generally these days, certainly not much in English churches, so you probably won’t recognise the tunes, which are played in the treble part played by the right hand.
I hope you enjoy them and wish you a Happy Easter.
Nick
1. Herzlich tut mich erfreuen
My faithful heart rejoices;
The summer comes at last,
When God, all things reviving,
Shall bring Eternity.
The Heav’n and Earth in splendor
Will He afresh create,
And all of us, His creatures,
Shall pure and flawless be
2. O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen
Blessed are ye, faithful souls departed;
Death awakened you to life immortal.
You are delivered
of all cares that hold the world in bondage.
3. Es ist ein ros entsprungen
Behold, a rose is blooming
From out a tender root,
Thus in the house of Jesse,
As tell our ancient hymns,
A young and tender shoot
Amid the gloom of winter
Burst forth in wond’rous bloom.

6 Comments

  1. Thanks for your cheery blog Nick.This week before Easter is Holy Week and next week is Easter week
    Happy Easter to you and Robin.May the joy of the Resurection break through this gloom.
    Keep well and safe and listen to music.Have yesterday s Bach Passion to listen to soon

    Tina

  2. Thanks Nick. I much enjoyed the Brahmses from my ;
    lock-up. Mike

  3. Hi Nick and thanks for this. I really like the preludes, particularly number 3.
    Inspired by your impeccable Hanon, I have unearthed my very old copy of Kreutzer violin studies and put it on the music stand. Well, that’s a start! Happy Easter to you and Robin, Loretta

    1. Author

      Hm….it’s a start. How about putting War and Peace on your bedside cabinet? I’m only really saying that because I AM currently reading it!! Just finished Book 3 (of 15).

  4. Hi NIck – thank you for sending these. I liked Wie Selig especially – would be great to hear more of these preludes. They’ve added to my feast of Easter music – Easter from Kings and a lovely half hour concert by Tenebrae on BBC 4 last night. Enjoy the rest of Easter Monday.

    1. Author

      Hi Claire. So pleased you liked them. Perhaps I’ll try to record the rest this week! Challenge on! Nick

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