Jan Bender (1909–1994) — Prelude and Fugue in the Lydian Mode, op. 29, no. 21 (1978) for organ
Jan Bender (1909–1994) was born in Haarlem, Holland and educated in Leipzig and Lübeck, Germany. He studied with Karl Straube, Kurt Thomas, and Hugo Distler. After war service and several church appointments in Germany (Aurich, Holstein, and Lüneburg), he moved to America in 1960 to accept a teaching appointment at Concordia Teacher’s College in Seward, Nebraska. From 1965–75, he was professor of composition and organ at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, where he had important influence on a generation of American Lutheran church musicians. Following his retirement, Bender returned to Germany for the remainder of his life. As a composer, Bender produced a large catalog of compositions, with a particular focus on liturgical music based on chorales and hymns. He was involved with several major hymnal projects, including the Lutheran Book of Worship, to which he contributed many hundreds of hymn settings and arrangements. He also composed several concert works for organ and chamber music.
“Prelude and Fugue in the Lydian Mode” (1978) is one of Bender’s little-known works, composed for organist and editor Wayne Leupold and published in a long out-of-print collection by Belwin-Mills. A lyrical prelude marked “calmly” is followed by a perky fugue marked “joyfully.” (The registrations are the composer’s.)