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View Diary: Thursday Classical Music Opus 45: Bach's Brandenburg Concertos (96 comments)

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  •  This is a great diary about a great genius. (4+ / 0-)
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    deben, MT Spaces, Dumbo, hester

    His music has formed a counterpoint to my life from a very early age. I'm very familiar with many of his works as a listener. I consider the Brandenburg Concertos a garden for the ears.

    It's interesting that he didn't really seem to evolve, as later, Romantic composers did. We don't talk about "early" and "late" Bach, or Bach's "such-and-such period."

    Also, on a sadder note, classical music, as a whole, is really struggling right now. Many fewer kids than in generations past are growing up wanting to be professional cellists and conductors and whatever. They all want to be rock stars. Given this, I wonder if the great, new interpretations of Bach, won't be non-classical, e.g., for electronic synthesizer, and other instruments we never associated with the 18th Century.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 06:48:40 AM PDT

    •  On Bach's evolution as a composer (5+ / 0-)
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      MT Spaces, karmsy, ybruti, Fiona West, Dumbo

      compared to Beethoven's, Albert Schweitzer said something I agree entirely with:

      "The difference that Beethoven travels between two symphonies is greater almost than that which Bach traversed in a hundred cantatas.  He [Bach] is one of those rare personalities that do not become, but always are."

      Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

      by deben on Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 07:37:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bach didn't evolve, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo

        because the era he lived and wrote in, didn't support artistic evolution--only humble, workmanlike output. But Bach's music remained fascinating, if consistent in mood and format, because his was such a singular talent.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 08:12:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  To me, some of Bach's earliest works, (5+ / 0-)

          were already of such quality that they would be among almost any composer's greatest works, had someone else written them.  So judged on quality, he didn't have far to go over his lifetime, which isn't to say that he did not evolve. His late works are certainly different, even more complex, through the stratosphere.

          For a long time there was great confusion on when he composed many of his works.  Scholars had to resort to parchment analysis, watermarks and ink, changes in handwriting over his lifetime and his copyists' lifetimes, confirming dates in history for topical pieces...  Nobody could figure out when he wrote most of his organ music, given the maturity of it. (Most of it was composed before he was 30.)  Myself, I had believed the Passacaglia and Fugue for example had to have been written when he was in his 50s at least.  Not so; he was likely in his early 20s.  Some of the earliest cantatas, e.g. Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (written at age 23), BWV 106 and Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4 (age 22) are incredibly beautiful and extremely sophisticated works artistically IMO. Maturity came very early for this artist.

          Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

          by deben on Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 09:57:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Back in those days (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            deben, Fiona West, Dumbo

            talent like this could flower, because there were so few distractions. Eisenach, Germany, where Bach was raised, was basically podunk, no-wheres-vile. There was no TV. There was no internet, and there was no Gameboy. Mom and Dad, if they weren't the most expressive people emotionally :) were nothing if they were not reliable. Home-life was stable and predictable, and Dad was a musician, too, so young J.S. got lots of early training and encouragement.

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 10:26:58 AM PDT

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            •  That's "No-wheres-ville," NOT "No-wheres-vile."n/t (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dumbo

              It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

              by karmsy on Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 10:28:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Of course Bach was an orphan by age 10 (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              karmsy, Fiona West, Dumbo

              But, agreed; otherwise fewer distractions. And his brother took him into his home when their parents died, to another town and taught him keyboard. Even so, Sebastian was single-minded. In his teens he traveled great distances on foot to hear the music of the great cantors and organists of Hamburg and Lubeck.

              Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

              by deben on Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 10:42:41 AM PDT

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