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Happy Birthday, Bach! BYU organist plans annual birthday concert March 21

Brigham Young University School of Music faculty artist Douglas Bush will perform an organ recital in honor of J.S. Bach’s 321st birthday Tuesday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Madsen Recital Hall.

Admission is free and the public is welcome.

“The program is designed to give a cross-section of Bach’s creative work from early on to the end of his life,” Bush said. “Throughout his life, Bach was pushing the envelope in terms of new ideas, and was always defining his own techniques.”

Bush will present a series of Bach organ pieces, including the Toccata in D Minor, his most famous piece; “Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend,”a pulpit hymn sung as a prayer; “Pastorale,” implying a pastoral scene with shepherds, “Trio super: Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend,” from the choral Leipzeg 18 or “The Great 18;” and “Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein,” translated as a "death bed" for all.

The middle of the program will feature three contrasting fugues from the early, middle and late periods of Bach’s life, including the quiet Prelude and Fugue in A Major, the Fugue in C Major and the Italian-influenced Prelude and Fugue in G Major.

In Bach’s autographed manuscripts, the first page always includes the initials JJ translated as “Jesus Help Me,” and the last page ends with SDG signifying “To God Alone the Glory.”

“I think the religious references in Bach’s manuscripts indicate the tenor of his creative life,” Bush said. “Though Bach was aware of his capabilities, I think his mission was primarily glorifying God through his music.”

Bush teaches full-time in the School of Music specializing in organ keyboard. He has performed throughout Europe and across the United States, and has conducted a variety of master classes. He is editing an encyclopedia on the organ to be published by Routledge Press in New York City.

For more information contact Douglas Bush at (801) 422-3159.

Writer: Angela Fischer

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