Bach ~ Gigue Fugue (c. 1705) ~ Ken Cowan, Organ

Writer and political philosopher William F. Buckley said: “If Bach is not in Heaven … I am not going!”. I would have to agree.

Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach

I once asked a very good organist I know if he thought Bach was able to play all of the organ music he wrote. My friend said, “He could, but he didn’t have time to.  I think that is plausible given the multiple jobs he worked and the supposedly 20 children he fathered in his lifetime.

To my mind, the Gigue Fugue is as good an example of the ingenious counterpoint, the rhythmic vitality, the shifting tone colors, the conciseness of writing, and the not-one-note-out-of-place characteristics that we cherish in this universally admired composer.

Personal connection: I saw the Canadian organist Ken Cowan (above) perform a recital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa several years ago at an organ dedication. A number of us had dinner with him. Along with immense talent, he is a genuinely nice guy who is well-read in many things besides music.

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