BACH & THE SENTRY Song for baritone and piano Words by Ivor Gurney
Copyright Philip Lancaster, 2015. All rights reserved.
Composer’s Note This setting makes reference to the Prelude in G minor from Book II of J. S. Bach’s DasWohltemperierte Klavier, which was one of those Preludes singled out by Gurney in a letter of March 1917 as being one that might qualify as that ‘Dearest Prelude’, although he admitted that there was ‘no certain’ one. Gurney makes particular mention of the G minor prelude earlier in the letter; and in a previous letter of June 1916 — a few months before the writing of the poem and shortly after enduring a one and a quarter hour bombardment — Gurney wrote, ‘it [the bombardment] left me exalted and exulting only longing for a nice blighty that would have taken me away from all this and left me free to play the G minor Prelude from the Second Book of Bach.’ At the end of this letter Gurney adds, ‘O that G minor Prelude! It sticks to me in solemn moments.’ This setting is dedicated to Jon Stallworthy, Poet and Scholar, whom I knew for only a few years prior to his passing, but who in that time gave me tremendous encouragement and valuable support in my work and other pursuits. PGL, June 2015