Helmut Walcha (October 27, 1907 in Leipzig – August 11, 1991 in Frankfurt) was a blind German organist who specialized in the works of the Dutch and German baroque masters and is known for his recordings of the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Born in Leipzig, Walcha was blinded at age 19 after vaccination for smallpox. Despite his disability, he entered the Leipzig Conservatory and became an assistant at the Thomaskirche to Günther Ramin, who was professor of organ at the conservatory and cantor at St. Thomas'. In 1929, Walcha accepted a position in Frankfurt am Main at the Friedenskirche and remained in Frankfurt for the rest of his life. From 1933 to 1938 he taught at the Hoch Conservatory. In 1938 he was appointed professor of organ at the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt and organist of the Dreikönigskirche in 1946. He retired from public performance in 1981.
Walcha also composed for the organ. He published four volumes of original chorale preludes (published by C. F. Peters) as well as arrangements for organ of orchestral works written by others.
He lectured on organ music and composition (illustrated by his own playing) at the Hoch Conservatory and the Frankfurt Musikhochschule. One other contribution to music scholarship is his attempted completion of the final (unfinished) fugue of The Art of Fugue.
"Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen" is taken from the first volume of choral preludes published by Peters. Many of these preludes are striking and very challenging.
This one makes use of a quiet ostinato in the Pedals played with Bourdon 16 & Flute 4, while the LH remains on a quiet 8' Flute. Walcha specifies that the melody is to be played on a Krummhorn with tremulant, but in this performance I've used the Oboe of the Hoofdwerk - a stop that could easily find it's way into the solo division of a Willis or Harrison... ;-)