Monday, June 27, 2016
We can identify the anonymous seller of the autograph of J S Bach’s Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E-flat for Lute or Harpsichord, BWV 998, up for sale at Christie’s on July 13. The sale is said to ‘benefit a renowned musical institution’. That institution is Tokyo’s Ueno Gakuen conservatory, which appears to have fallen on hard times. The manuscript was the property of its founding family. An attempt by teachers at Ueno Gakuen to debate the sale had to be moved off campus after an edict by the president. No word about the sale has appeared in Japanese media. It is extremely unusual for music treasures ever to be sold by a Japanese institution. There must be pressing reasons for doing so.
The Bach birthplace at Eisenach has opened an exhibition on the aggressive anti-semitism of Martin Luther, leader of the Reformation, whose Gospel texts J S Bach set so beautifully to music. Outraged that the Jews refused to follow him into a reformed Christianity, Luther in his speeches and writings reinforced Catholic stereotypes of Jews as parasites and deicides. These became, in time, bedrock Nazi propaganda. «Luther, Bach – und die Juden»: 24.06. – 06.11.2016. Bachhaus Eisenach, Frauenplan 21, 99817 Eisenach
Meet Clara Shandler. You won’t regret it. My name is Clara, I’m a punk-rock-yogi cellist, and I take it outside. I put beats in my Bach, mix a little French impressionism with my metal, and throw a bit of a Buddhist philosophy in some jazz. I’ve been Vancouver’s Sidewalk Cellist since I was 14 and this year I’m doing free outdoor cello concerts in Canada, Cambodia, Burma, Nepal, and Europe.
Tapiola Sinfonietta/Suzuki (BIS)Masaaki Suzuki remains most strongly associated with his own Bach Collegium Japan, but he has a parallel conducting career away from the ensemble and the composer. This all-Stravinsky disc finds him teamed with Finland’s Tapiola Sinfonietta. There’s a baroque sensibility to their performance of the suite from Pulcinella, the ballet Stravinsky crafted early 18th-century scores – Suzuki makes each note count as the individual lines combine and compete, perhaps at the expense of the music’s natural, classical lyricism. And so, while it’s crisp and pleasingly emphatic, there’s a sense that the performance is keeping a lid on the music’s exuberance. Similarly, both Apollon Musagète and the Concerto in D can sound airier and more fluid than this, but in these strings-only mini-masterpieces the Sinfonietta sounds earthy and fiery, and two out of four elements is definitely something to be going on with. Continue reading...
The story behind “The Violin Teacher”, a film which has been moving audiences to tears, is true. And the Latin American movements it is based on, which teach poor children how to play instruments after school, have been hailed as the future of classical music. Having seen his young actors drawn from a tough Sao Paulo slum learn to play Bach as he shot the film, director Sergio Machado is now evangelical about the city’s Baccarelli Institute.
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