The Organ chorales of the Leipzig manuscript by Vincent van Laar

Johann Sebastian Bach

The Organ chorales of the Leipzig manuscript,
Schübler chorales

Vincent van Laar

In the oeuvre of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), the chorale – the Lutheran congregational hymn – plays a central role. This is hardly surprising, since for the greater part of his life Bach was a church musician, composing music suitable for liturgical use. At the same time he was very familiar with the chorale from his youth, for it was standard material in the music tuition of his age. Moreover, as a student Bach became acquainted with the music of his predecessors, the North German organists Reincken, Böhm and Buxtehude and the South German Pachelbel, for whom the chorale was a musical point of reference. Without the chorale, Bach‘s oeuvre would have been inconceivable.

This CD features 24 chorale preludes for the organ (BWV 645-668). Without exception, they stand in the tradition of the chorale-based music of Bach‘s predecessors. They therefore include pieces with the unornamented chorale tune in the pedal (BWV 651 and 661), others with the melody ornamented (BWV 653, 654, 659 and 662), chorale trios (BWV 655 and 664), and works employing traditional contrapuntal techniques like canon, fugue and imitation (BWV 652 and 665).

Vincent van Laar performs frequently in the Netherlands and abroad as an organist, harpsichordist and continuo player. Besides his greatest passion, the music of J.S. Bach, he has a predilection for the music of J.P. Sweelinck and the North German repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries. As a continuo player and soloist he is a member of Concerto d’Amsterdam and The Northern Consort; as a guest he plays frequently with Musica Amphion. Vincent van Laar‘s teachers included Nico van den Hooven, Harald
Vogel, Glen Wilson and Bob van Asperen. He graduated in organ at the Utrecht Conservatory in 1984, and in harpsichord at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in 1988. He won organ competitions in Zeerijp (1981), Toulouse (1983) and Alkmaar (1991). Besides many radio broadcasts, Vincent van Laar‘s CD recordings include: – the complete organ works of Melchior Schildt on the Schnitger organ in Norden; – the 24 Capricetten by Jacob Wilhelm Lustig on the harpsichord and the Hinsz organ in Appingedam; – cantatas by J.S. Bach with obbligato organ, with the countertenor Maarten Engeltjes and Concerto d’Amsterdam; – the complete organ works of Johann Adam
Reincken and Nicolaus Bruhns on the organ of the Martinikerk in Groningen. Vincent van Laar also recorded organ works by Sweelinck, which was awarded an Edison.