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Jacobs School Preview: The Seasons of Sebastian

Janette Fishell will perform music of J.S. Bach on the Van Daalen organ in IU's Beck Chapel

A small stone chapel in a wooded area is covered with a light snowfall.

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The Beck Chapel at Indiana University

Event Information

The Seasons of Sebastian

Selections from Bach's "Great 18" Organ Preludes


Beck Chapel, IU Bloomington campus

Thursday, January 10, 12:15 pm

Just east of the IU Memorial Union stands an unassuming stone building. Though you may pass it often, you might not know that this building, the historic Beck Chapel, houses an organ. Janette Fishell, a member of the Jacobs School of Music organ faculty, will perform on this instrument as part of the Seasons of Sebastian Concert Series.

This series, in progress since 2010, will see Professor Fishell perform all the organ works of J.S. Bach on various instruments around Bloomington. The concerts are organized into secular and sacred music, with most of the secular works performed on the Maidee H. and Jackson A. Seward Organ in Auer Hall, and the sacred works performed in various Bloomington churches.

This concert will feature selections from Bach’s “Great 18,” a set of chorale preludes composed is the final decade of Bach’s life. The first work on the program, however, is not part of this group. The Prelude and Fugue in c minor, BWV 549, has echoes of the famous Toccata and Fugue in d minor, BWV 565, opening with a similar three-note motive. The fugue offers Bach’s typically intriguing contrapuntal ideas.

The “Great 18″ chorale preludes show the result of Bach’s study of the work of his predecessors, including Buxtehude, Böhm and Pachelbel. Each of the preludes on this concert bears a title, which in some cases inspired Bach to write music to illustrate the title, a technique known as text painting. Professor Fishell’s ambitious project offers a unique opportunity to hear a variety of organ works by a master of the genre, and enjoy the sounds of different organs in Bloomington.

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