Bach’s Motets

I have recounted many stories in this blog, some of which have been proven to be apocryphal. This one has the benefit of being absolutely true. One Sunday morning in 1789, the boys' choir at St. Thomas in Leipzig, Germany shuffled to their feet to sing a dusty old motet that had been in the … Continue reading Bach’s Motets

Bach’s “Double Concerto”

Bach’s “Double Concerto” holds a special place in the hearts of every violinist.  We've all played it: I learned it when I was 8.  It’s also a great excuse for two great violinists to get together to perform together.  I saw Itzach Perlman and Pincus Zuckerman play it in Carnegie Hall in the early 1980s … Continue reading Bach’s “Double Concerto”

Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos

As I think is clear by now, Bach only needed a single instrument to create a complex world of sound.  You could study these for a lifetime and still hear new things every day.  That would have been enough, but, fortunately for us, Bach was Baroque to the core and liked it big and loud … Continue reading Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos

Bach, The First Jazzman?

In the film High Society, Bing Crosby takes to the stage to educate "the great and the good" of Newport about the basics of jazz: Take some skins,Jazz begins,Take a bassSteady pace,Take a box,One that rocks,Take a blue horn New Orleans-born.Take a stickWith a lick,Take a bone,Dixie-grown,Take a spot,Cool and hot,Now you has jazz jazz … Continue reading Bach, The First Jazzman?

Bach For the Heart; Bach for the Brain

Bach isn't solely music for the brain. For example, his Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue is a bit of exuberance, clearly meant for performance rather than intellectual analysis.  It’s a bloated, emotional, sprawling mess of virtuosity.  I love it to bits.  And, it is a bit of a Conversation for Liszt (which we will get to … Continue reading Bach For the Heart; Bach for the Brain