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Johann Sebastian Bach

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


My Classical Notes

January 21

Feb.20, Grigory Sokolov Concert in Madrid

My Classical NotesOne of the major performing artists now is Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov. This amazing musician will perform in Madrid, Spain, on February 20th, at the Auditorio Nacional de Música: Address: Calle del Príncipe de Vergara, 146, 28002 Madrid, Spain Program: W.A. MOZART Sonata in C major K. 545 (1788) Allegro Andante Rondo. Allegretto Fantasia and Sonata in c minor K. 475/457 Fantasia K. 475 (1785) Adagio – Allegro – Andantino – Più allegro – Tempo I Sonata K. 457 (1784) Molto allegro Adagio Allegro assai *** *** *** (Intermission) L.VAN BEETHOVEN Sonata in e minor n. 27 op. 90 (1814) I. Mit Lebhaftigkeit und durchaus mit Empfindung und Ausdruck II. Nicht zu geschwind und sehr singbar vorgetragen Sonata in c minor n. 32 op. 111 (1822) I. Maestoso – Allegro con brio ed appassionato II. Arietta: Adagio molto semplice cantabile Here, for your enjoyment right now is Grigory Sokolov playing the music of Bach:

Guardian

January 22

Mozart, Ligeti, Bach: Labyrinth CD review – delightful puzzles

Dudok Quartet Amsterdam (Resonus)Mozart, Ligeti, Bach? A curious combination but one suggested to the impressive Dudok Quartet Amsterdam when considering musical labyrinths. Mozart uses rhythmic and dynamic ruses to confuse us in his String Quartet No 14 in G major and wrong-foots us completely with a double fugue, while Ligeti employs thickets of micropolyphony to obscure the way through his frightening String Quartet No 2, cogently played by these imaginative players. And the link with Bach? Both composers drew inspiration from the puzzles JS devised in his canons. These mysterious little exercises sometimes come to an abrupt halt, lost in the labyrinth. A neat idea. Continue reading...




Royal Opera House

January 17

Dance-opera Essentials: Philip Glass and Javier De Frutos’s Les Enfants Terribles

The Royal Ballet's Les Enfants Terribles The story begins… Brother and sister Paul and Lise grow up together in isolation. They begin a game, the nature of which transforms as their bodies mature. Their imagined reality begins to unravel as the real world intrudes, with disastrous consequences. After Cocteau Jean Cocteau wrote his influential novel Les Enfants Terribles in 1929, and in 1950 director Jean-Pierre Melville adapted the novel into a film . Nearly fifty years later in 1996 Philip Glass adapted the film and novel as the final element of his Cocteau trilogy. He collaborated with choreographer Susan Marshall to create a dance-opera , in which the action is shared between dancers and singers. Now, as part of global celebrations to mark Glass’s 80th birthday, choreographer and director Javier De Frutos creates a new production for The Royal Ballet at the Barbican . Unbridled creativity Glass is the most-performed living opera composer. His many stage works express a breathtaking variety, not only in their source materials but in their very structure. The three works of the Cocteau trilogy encapsulate this diversity. Orphée unusually uses Cocteau’s complete screenplay as its libretto. La Belle et la Bête retains not only the screenplay but the film itself, with the music exactly timed to play beneath the film. The explicitly multimedia nature of Les Enfants Terribles continues the trend. Glass has indicated that the work itself is about creativity, as conductor Timothy Burke explains: ‘Paul and Lise create an imaginary world for themselves. They live a reality which is fictional, which doesn’t chime in with the rest of life outside them.’ Mirror worlds Glass and Marshall’s original production of Les Enfants is cast for four singers and eight dancers, a format De Frutos follows in his new production. He introduces a further subdivision, with four of his dancers coming from a contemporary discipline, and four from The Royal Ballet, trained in the classical tradition. Singers and dancers together express different aspects of the characters. This plurality of casting is an echo of Glass’s music for the dance-opera, which is scored for three pianos (itself inspired by the film’s pointed use of Bach’s Concerto for Four Keyboards ). As Paul Kilbey describes in his programme note, ‘The dense layers of piano mirror and distort each other, perfectly attuned to the dark hue that suffuses Cocteau’s imagined world’. Dirty secrets ‘I think Les Enfants is a fascinating study of morality’, says De Frutos. ‘I like the idea that you’re as dirty as the secrets you keep.’ Paul and Lise grow up believing their behaviour is normal – a belief that becomes destructive as their way of life is exposed to the outside world. ‘The word incest isn’t used once in the piece, but that’s what it’s about’, De Frutos explains. ‘When you don’t name it, it is not a crime – but when you name it you start to think it is punishable and dangerous.’ He embraces this subjective morality in staging the piece: ‘I really like the idea of making the cast uncomfortable about confronting what they think is moral or not. If any of them makes a moral judgement on the character they’re playing, it won’t be a transparent interpretation.’ Les Enfants Terribles runs at the Barbican from 27–29 January 2017. Tickets are currently sold out on the Royal Opera House website, but more tickets have been released on the Barbican website.



Guardian

January 15

Cello Unwrapped: Alban Gerhardt, Aurora Orchestra; Christophe Coin – review

Kings Place, London The year-long Cello Unwrapped season got off to an exhilarating start with Alban Gerhardt and Christophe CoinThe big “what ifs” of music are mostly to do with loss. What if Mozart had not died young, Beethoven had kept his hearing, Chausson hadn’t ridden that bicycle into a wall? Occasionally a chance gain, if of a more isolated kind, grips our imagination. Had the Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) not been medically unfit for military service in the first world war, one of the greatest modern works for solo cello, his Sonata Op 8, might never have been written.Alban Gerhardt played this three-movement epic as part of a spirited launch event for Cello Unwrapped, the latest, ambitious year-long series of the kind Kings Place favours. With the main hall’s seating capacity only around 400, big concerto repertoire is out. Here is a chance, generously taken, to delve wider, deeper, more intimately. If your interest is to trace this most soulful instrument’s history, from coarse bass violin to poetic musical orator, you can: the programming of the year’s 45 concerts could hardly be more diverse, inside and outside the western tradition, embracing tango and electronics, Indian and mainstream classical. Instruction is only an add-on: concerts of musical coherence are the imperative. Bach is always there at the heart, his six unaccompanied suites a shapeshifting presence across the entire series (with the special draw of that ever great exponent David Watkin, exploring these work, and the art of continuo playing, across the weekend of 22-23 April). Continue reading...

Johann Sebastian Bach
(1685 – 1750)

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.



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