Sunday, March 26, 2017
An effusive invitation from the Finnish ambassador: Finland100 at the Bach Festival Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Music Lovers, It is an especially great pleasure for me to be the patron of the Leipzig Bach Festival in this particular year, 2017. Because in addition to marking the anniversary of the Reformation, it also marks another anniversary: in 2017, Finland celebrates its 100th year as an independent nation. We want to celebrate this anniversary year with all friends of Finland– and the Bach Festival offers us a wonderful opportunity to do so…. I wish all visitors an inspiring Bach Festival in 2017 – and warmly invite you to celebrate this very special year with us. Ritva Koukku-Ronde Ambassador of Finland Smile, anyone?
A copy of two arias and a recitative from the St Matthew Passion, written out by Felix Mendelssohn soon after his restorative 1829 performance, has come up for sale in a Zurich auction next week. They’re estimating $120,000-160,000.
I am a huge admirer of pianist Grigory Sokolov In my view he is one of the three top pianists on the planet today, Let me Illustrate how I arrived at this conclusion. Music is often a matter of personal taste and preferences, and this video might help: Here is a recorded concert in which he performed the music of Bach, as though someone was having a conversation with me about the great composer. After the Bach, we get music by Beethoven and two selections by Schubert. Absolutely great playing!
Beatrice Rana (piano) (Warner Classics)Yet another recording of Bach’s masterpiece – at present the go-to piece for both aspiring pianists and harpsichordists – needs to be something very special. Beatrice Rana’s live performances have divided opinion, but this recording creates a wholly individual, inward mood. She cultivates an extremely wide range of sound, in some variations as hard-hitting as Glenn Gould, at others dreamy and serene. She is quirky at times, drawing out little accompaniment figures that are not important in the big scheme, and you fear she will lose her way. But then she galvanises the final variations into an exuberant, moving sequence before returning to the peace of the aria with utter calm. Continue reading...
We reported one summer a few years back that Dane Johansen was walking across Spain, playing the Bach cello suites in town and village squares. Now a movie about his pilgrimage is being premiered at the Cleveland International Film Festival. Have a look.
Three people were getting out of a taxi near the Intercontinental Hotel at one in the morning on Sunday when a second taxi drove into them. One man was killed on the spot, a second fatally injured. The first casualty has been unofficially identified as Gordon Murray, 68, a Canadian professor of harpsichord at Vienna’s university of music and performing arts. His wife was seriously injured. The second fatality was their guest, a visitor from Britain, aged 89. He died later in hospital. Gordon Murray, a student of Marie-Claire Alain, worked with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and other early music leaders while developing his academic career. He made recordings of Bach, Scarlatti and Schütz.
Johann Sebastian Bach (21 March 1685, - 28 July 1750) was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity. Although J.S. Bach did not introduce new forms, he enriched the prevailing German style with a robust contrapuntal technique, an unrivalled control of harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected throughout Europe during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the main composers of the Baroque style, and as one of the greatest composers of all time. Revered for their intellectual depth, technical command and artistic beauty, Bach's works include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Partitas, The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Mass in B minor, the St Matthew Passion, the St John Passion, the Magnificat, A Musical Offering, The Art of Fugue, the English and French Suites, the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, the Cello Suites, more than 200 surviving cantatas, and a similar number of organ works, including the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, as well as the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes and Organ Mass.
Great composers of classical music