Photos 1: Bach Album

Thank God for this man.  His music makes up for a whole host of miseries that poses for "music" these days.  He was as poor as a church mouse but unlike today money is not what motivated him.  For inspiration and study there is nothing like him.

The compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) still form the kernel of the standard Organ repertoire to this day.  His surname among musicians is a colossal syllable, one which makes composers tremble, brings performers to their knees, and has become synonymous at once with a synthesis of styles and a radiation of influence.  While he created no new musicial forms he brought all forms in use in his time (save for opera) to a standard of perfection.  Everything that happened in music before him merely led up to him, and everything in music that happened after him can be traced back to him ... which is why every musician must be his disciple.

Although many incredible musical talents had come and gone before his day and have come and gone since, and it must be acknowledged that a great many of these talents have created some phenomenal musical works of genius which will endure for all time, in terms of 1) prolific and varied compositional output, 2) ability to combine expressive elements with speed of production, 3) almost super-human powers of invention, 4) sheer mastery of the techniques of composition, and 5) brilliant improvisational skills capable of meeting the most demanding of musical challenges on the spot -- no one in history (save possibly for Ludwig van Beethoven who runs a very close second and a number of other masters who crowd closely behind him) has ever been Bach's equal.

For over 300 years the portion of Bach's musical output which has survived has remained the gold standard among composers.  The spirit that rides over the entire creativity of this enormous man transcends epochs, cultures, and places.  It's no stretch to say that if all the music ever written except for Bach's would somehow perish forever, music would still survive.

 Praeludium, Chorale, and Fugue for Organ Op. 10 from Ten Pieces for Organ Op. 1-9 by Steven Monrotus, an extended tripartite work, has been composed to honor the memory of J.S. Bach.  This music incorporates the sectional style of Baroque "stylus phantasticus" writing in the Praeludium, and the Fugue is written in quadruple counterpoint with 3 countersubjects maintained throughout.  Bach's 4-note melodic signature Bb-A-C-B is deliberately worked into the counterpoint in all 3 sections, and these sections are all constructed upon the same melodic outline which lends a very strong sense of unity to the work.

The central section of this piece is available separately as Chorale in d minor for Organ Op. 9.  This excerpt is for 2 hands and playable on a one-manual organ with no pedals, a harmonium, or electronic keyboard.

Both of these scores are free for download and printing by going to the Bio/Free Stuff page on this web site.