Die Freudenkrone at VI International Organ Music Festival, September 8, 2007

pipesThe City of Liepāja, Latvia, commissioned a new work from me for the organist Lotars Džeriņš to premiere on the 4-manual, 7000-pipe organ of St. Trinity Church during the VI International Organ Music Festival in Liepāja, Latvia on Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 8PM.

Scored for organ, timpani and SATB Choir, Die Freudenkrone: Ehrerbietung zu J.S. Bach (The Crowning Joy: Homage to J.S. Bach), the premiere will feature Lotars Džeriņš (organ), Normunds Everts (timpani), Intis (a local chamber choir, directed by Ilze Valce), and special lighting by Mārtiņa Feldmaņa. The title is taken from part of the text from the chorale movement (verse six) of Bach’s Cantata BMV 103. For this piece, I used that chorale melody (with my own harmonization), along with fragments taken from Bach’s toccata and fugue in D dorian (BMV 538).

Built by Heinrich Andreas Contius (J. S. Bach’s favorite organ builder) the organ of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church was the biggest organ in the World until 1912. It remains the biggest in Latvia and still one of the most impressive in Europe, filled with rococo ornament and detial. It is the the only organ in the world still extant which was voiced by H.A. Contius.

Here’s a detail above the pipes:

Here’s the four manuals:

I was interviewed for two Latvian newspapers: Kultūras Forums and Kurzemes Vārds. If you can read Latvian and want to read one of the interviews, you can read it here.

Chorale text:

Ich habe dich einen Augenblick,
O liebes Kind, verlassen;
Sieh’ aber, sieh’, mit großem Glück
Und Trost ohn’ alle Maßen
Will ich dir schon die Freudenkrone
Aufsetzen und verehren;
Dein kurzes Leid soll sich in Freude
Und ewig Wohl verkehren.
I have for a moment,
my dear child, left you;
but see, see, with great good fortune
and comfort beyond all measure
I shall on you the crown of joy
place and honour;
Your brief suffering will into joy
and everlasting good be changed.

–English Translation by Francis Browne (February 2002), taken from bach-cantatas.com

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