composer • educator

I Call to Thee: A childlike, pedagogical view in miniature; J.S. Bach's BWV 639

Added on by Carolyn O'Brien.

Below is a video of the first rehearsal of a portion of a piece written in tribute to J.S. Bach and his pedagogical contribution to my education. Chosen for both its musical content and its message, Ich ruf zu dir or "I call to thee" is my call to Bach, for help when I most needed it. Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesus Christ, BWV 639, was selected from J.S. Bach's pedagogical book, Das Orgelbuchlein. In this miniature-sized arrangement, piccolo and bass flute act as soprano line and bass pedal, respectively, imitating a small pump organ or harmonium, while the toy piano represents the continuo instrument in place of harpsichord, or more closely resembling a celeste. On honor of the pedagogical nature of Das Orgelbuchlein, this is also meant to seem reminiscent of a child's music box. The piece can stand alone, or be juxtaposed with other mechanical pieces, music boxes, et al. and is also meant to work in concert with Ich ruf zu dir, for guitar and piano.

Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesus Christ is dedicated with love, respect and admiration to three of the most willing and curious children at heart that I know: Meret Bitticks, Shanna Gutierrez and Mabel Kwan. I must also extend a major hat tip to Shanna Gutierrez for suggesting the adorable challenge of using the instrumentation of toy piano and bass flute. This idea has sparked such an insatiable desire in me to compose so many more pieces for them, I don't know how I'll write for anything else!

This is the rehearsal of Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ, (I call to thee Lord Jesus Christ) in miniature, an organ prelude by J.S. Bach arranged for piccolo, bass flute and toy piano. Here we see Meret Bitticks, Shanna Gutierrez and Mabel Kwan in the first rehearsal.