Das Silbermannorgel, Dom Arlesheim. Foto/Photo: TES.

Bach in Arlesheim

The complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) will be played on the Silbermann organ in the Dom of Arlesheim (Canton Basel-Landschaft) from 2022 to 2024.

His early works will be played in the first year (2022). he composed these works during his youth and as an organist in Arnstadt (1703-1708) and Mühlhausen (1707-1708). These chorale arrangements and free organ works are unknown even to some experts and are rarely played in concerts. Most chorale preludes come from the so-called Neumeister-Sammlung (Neumeister collection), discovered in 1985.

The second year, 2023, will be dedicated to his Weimar period (1708-1717), during which Bach, as court organist to Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar (1662-1728), created most of his organ works. The great preludes, toccatas, fantasies, and their corresponding fugues will be heard. The programme also includes the chorale preludes of the “Orgelbüchlein”.

After Bach had previously oriented himself primarily on North German models, an Italian composer became the focus of his attention during his Weimar period.
The concerti grossi of the Venetian Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) are heard in Bach’s arrangements for the organ, and Bach’s organ music breathes a good portion of talianità.

The third year (2024) is devoted mainly to late organ works, including die kleine Liebhaberkollektion der sechs Schübler-Choräle; “Vom Himmel hoch”; the “Dritte Theil der Clavier Übung”, the trio sonatas, the sonatas and the “Leipziger Originalhandschrift” (although the pieces were written thirty years earlier).

(Source and further information: www.bach-im-dom.ch).