Compose for the Orgelbüchlein Project competition

Compose for the Orgelbüchlein Project competition

The Orgelbüchlein Project and the RCO have teamed up to run an Orgelbüchlein composition competition, to be judged in a public concert.

Two chorales are currently ring-fenced in the Orgelbüchlein Community for possible inclusion in the New Orgelbüchlein, currently in preparation at Peters Edition.

Composers of any age and nationality are invited to take part and submit their own composition, according to the following criteria:

1. Choose one of the two ring-fenced chorales (Nos. 115 and 134), and set it for organ solo with obbligato pedals. You may submit one composition for each of these chorales, but only one composition per composer will be shortlisted.
2. The chorale melody must be featured in the composition, set end to end. This may be achieved using one of Bach’s Orgelbüchlein techniques (melody chorale, decorated chorale, canon), or other more modernistic techniques may be applied to the melody. The melody must be structural to the composition, even if altered and manipulated. Please be aware - the task is ‘paraphrase' not ‘fantasia’.
3. Style is completely open, though density of technique and economy of motif are recommended. The aim of the task is to reflect the ethos of Bach’s Orgelbüchlein for the modern age.

The melody of 115 can be found as BWV 308, or Riemenschneider 27.

The melody of 134 can be found here

Compositions must be submitted by email to, no later than 1 June 2017.

A shortlist of up to ten compositions will be drawn up, and all composers will be notified of this result by 12 June.

The shortlisted compositions will be heard live in a public concert on 8 July 2017 beginning at 18:00hrs, played by Nicholas Morris at St George’s Hanover Square, London W1.

A panel chaired by current RCO President Philip Moore will judge the compositions and two winning compositions will be chosen (one for each chorale). Each will receive a prize of £125, and both will be submitted to the editorial panel at Peters Edition for inclusion in the New Orgelbüchlein publication, for which a small royalty will be payable. Please note that although the intention is to take both pieces, Peters Edition reserves the right not to publish either piece.

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