Chorale Variation on "Salzburg" - (2002)
for my brother, Gordon Bachlund
This hymn tune was composed in 1678 by Jakob Hintze and harmonized by
J. S. Bach (1685-1750). It was one of those hymns mentioned by my brother as
In addition to singing in St. Paul's Cathedral's men's and boys' choir under
Frank Owen many years ago, Gordon had served as choirmaster for a number of
Roman Catholic churches, including the Basilica of Our Lady in Saigon,
Vietnam, during his time their as a consultant for the US government. Other
churches in the southern California area included Saint Paul's, Los Angeles,
and St. Francis de Sales, Sherman Oaks.
Gordon Bachlund at the console - Cathedral of Our Lady, Saigon
Therefore as a gift to him, I wrote this setting. The hymn tune in Bach's
harmonization is stated at the beginning, and then declared in a 12/8
chorale variation, the cantus firmus carried in the pedal as a
modified imitative counterpoint, sometimes at the fifth, sings out over it.
At the end of the chorale variation, the pedal "walks" down in octaves, as
the counterpoint is again reprised without the underlying cantus firmus.
MP3 file [ circa 3' 40" ]
Nha Tho Duc Ba - Cathedral of Our Lady
Proposed to be one of
France's most ambitious project in Indochina at the time, Rev. Colombert
laid the cornerstone for the cathedral on October 7, 1877. Three years
later, in 1880, the cathedral was opened to the public. These two dates are
inscribed on a marble placard in the cathedral. The bricks used to build the
structure were shipped from Marseilles. Artisans from Lorin Company of
Chartres were commissioned to create the stained glass windows. The cost of
construction was an astounding 2.5 million francs in that time. In 1962, the
Vatican gave the cathedral the title Basilique. During my brother's time in
Viet Nam working as a consultant on electrical projects, he also built a
music program for the cathedral and helped to repair the organ there. His
generosity of spirit and interest in music were rewarded with friendships
among the Catholic community there, both American and Vietnamese. Indeed, he
brought his "adopted" son from Vietnam who now raises a distinctly
Gordon Bachlund with members of his choir seen behind.
The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial
performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement
with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this organ score.
Chorale Variation on Salzburg