‘Shall we dance?’ Dance-based baroque organ music.

by Ben Horden in York, England, United Kingdom

‘Shall we dance?’ Dance-based baroque organ music.

£2,510

£4,000 target 8 days left
62% 47 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 2nd August 2021 at 5:09pm

Debut solo recording project of organist Ben Horden. Dance-inspired music by Bach and Buxtehude on the organ of The University of York.

by Ben Horden in York, England, United Kingdom

Like so many of my friends and colleagues in the arts, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated both career and income. With a quieter than usual schedule, I have dedicated some of the past year to research and preparation for an exciting recording project, which I’m thrilled to bring to life this summer. 

The project
The historically informed performance of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century organ repertoire is somewhat neglected, certainly on disc. The recognition of this particular art and of the music it brings to life is lacking amongst an otherwise flourishing portfolio of early music-making across choral, vocal, and instrumental repertoires. Following on from my Masters degree in Baroque performance practice and subsequent research and study, I believe that the performances I offer on this new and exciting recording replicate most closely that which the composers intended. They aim to present the instrument and its music in a way that stands proudly against its counterparts. The project will champion the informed performance of Baroque organ music and, more broadly, increase the awareness and importance of the organ and its repertory. Through engagement and exposure, the project will also champion and support those freelancers involved with the project across a range of disciplines, many of whom have suffered at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic and who are only now beginning to spearhead a recovery.

I am honoured to be surrounded by a recording team who share my enthusiasm for this project, all of whom are most highly regarded in their respective fields. I am particularly delighted to be joined by the distinguished Yorkshire Baroque Soloists for the works that open and close the disc. The ensemble is directed by Professor Peter Seymour, Bach scholar and a very dear friend. He is a constant source of inspiration and the person who ignited and nourished my passion for this music.

The recording comprises works by J S Bach and Buxtehude, performed on the celebrated Grant, Degens and Bradbeer organ of the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall at the University of York; both my alma mater and, in musical terms, what I consider to be my spiritual home! The organ is a wonderfully diverse instrument and, in the right hands, produces a thoroughly engaging sound, capable of both beauty and ecstasy. The organ is certainly one that deserves to be heard. It was last recorded by Peter Seymour in the 1980s; I think it fair to say that its reappearance on disc is somewhat overdue!

1622632539_747a5c3f-841a-4fd3-b1cc-31e63533ddb8.jpeg

The music 
During the seventeenth century, dance secured its position as a serious art discipline. As a result, dance music became prevalent across Europe, and composers of the period and indeed many since have turned to dance forms and structures as a rhythmic framework and inspiration for their composition; featuring perhaps most prominently in the Baroque is the organisational scheme of the dance suite. Dance music found itself inextricably woven into the fabric of both sacred and secular music, from court and opera house to church and cathedral. Of course, one may conclude that the influence of Baroque dance reaches far beyond the compositional stage, informing an array of performance decisions including articulation, tempo, phrasing, and, for string players, even bowings. In this sense, the historical distance between composer and performer is condensed and the music’s affection and stylisation unite with the gestures of its realised performance in the modern day.

Characteristics of early dance forms were incorporated into the works of many European composers. This particular collection focuses on its use by two leading forces in organ music of the German Baroque and indeed its development and evolution within Western music: Johann Sebastian Bach and Dietrich Buxtehude. Some of its more apparent manifestations appear in dance in the scherzo-like gigues and dance suites. Subtler uses of the sarabande (characterised most keenly by its held second beat) in the melancholic coloratura chorale prelude BWV 652, the fugue of BuxWV 149 and of course, the Passacaglia BWV 582, all of which take pride of place amongst the track listing. The Yorkshire Bach Soloists join the party for the concerto for organ and orchestra that opens cantata 35 and which incorporates both French and Italian compositional styles with bourée phrases appearing contrapuntally across the texture. With a continuous organ obligato, Bach adapted as a basis for the cantata a harpsichord concerto, the last movement being the Sinfonia and providing this collection with a rather satisfying bookend.

About me
With an early career and initial training in church music and subsequent study at The University of York, I am now building a freelance career as an organist, choral conductor and keyboardist. My particular passion lies in the music of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century and, especially, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Read more at www.benhorden.com 

1622634088_7ebc87b2-f356-414e-aff7-c39b0a42bd9a.jpeg

The fundraising challenge
In order to complete this project, I am looking to raise at least £4000 from the generosity of those who contribute via Crowdfunder UK. The total cost of the project is considerably more, but I have already saved and will contribute some of my own money in order to start the fund-raising drive.

The production costs of this recording project include the fees of the freelancers involved in bringing to life the initiative - whether as an instrumentalist, recording engineer, producer, photographer or organ tuner - the recording venue, as well as the costs of practicalities such as travel and hotel rooms for the course of the recording. 

Although supported here by a stellar team, as a solo artist and the leader of this project, it falls to me to ensure its funding and success. Like many other freelance musicians, the detrimental implications of this pandemic on both income and career progression have been significant. I’m thrilled that this recording will coincide with the beginning of a period of recovery for all involved in the arts, as well as marking a significant milestone in my life as a musician and delivering the completion of a significant project after more than a year of relative inactivity. Any money raised in excess of the costs of this project will be donated to Help Musicians, an independent charity dedicated to supporting professional musicians. The charity have offered much-needed support to many struggling musicians during the pandemic and I‘d be delighted to be able to contribute to their ongoing work.

Contributions of any size are very welcome and gratefully received, and I am pleased to offer a range of benefits in recognition of the support. More details can be found below. Should you wish and feel able to contribute a more significant donation, please do make contact with me directly via the contact page at www.benhorden.com  By making a donation, you will play a vital part in bringing to life this important music. Thank you for your interest in this project.

£30 or more

  • One signed disc delivered to you on the day of the release

£50 or more

  • One signed discs delivered to you on the day of the release
  • Recognition on artist website 

£100 or more

  • Two signed discs delivered to you on the day of the release
  • Recognition on artist website 
  • An invitation to the album release concert with champagne reception

£250 or more

  • Three signed discs delivered to you on the day of the release  
  • Recognition in the CD sleeve and artist website
  • An invitation to the album release concert with champagne reception 
  • Invitation to and complimentary tickets for any UK solo appearance during 2022

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£50 or more

£50 or more

One signed disc delivered to you on the day of the release / Recognition on artist website

£30 or more

£30 or more

One signed disc delivered to you on the day of the release

£100 or more

£100 or more

Two signed discs delivered to you on the day of the release / Recognition on artist website / An invitation to the album release concert with champagne reception

£250 or more

£250 or more

Three signed discs delivered to you on the day of the release / Recognition in the CD sleeve and artist website / An invitation to the album release concert with champagne reception / Invitation to and complimentary tickets for any UK solo appearance during 2022

Show your support

Payment and personal details are protected