in honor of the birth,in 1685, of Johann Sebastian, may I offer this:
and if you don't want to listen for the full performance of this, I will offer a few more selections below the cheese doodle
as a cellist - which once upon a time I was - this is essential
Perhaps you'd like to look forward - or backward - to Christmas?
sorry for the quality, but this is a terrific performance by Perlman of an essential:
One of the most delightful things Bach ever wrote is this duet from Cantata 78:
the finale of the 4th Brandenburg is a personal favorite:
As a keyboard player one learns a lot of Bach. THe 4th Prelude and Fugue, C# minor, from the 1st book of the Well-Tempered Clavier, is a personal favorite - the fugue in particular, which is 5 voices:
The Air from the 3rd Orchestral Suite in D, aka the Air on the G String, is as meditative as anything Bach ever wrote.
March 21 is one of three sacred musical days in our household, along with January 27 (Mozart) and December 16 (Beethoven), although for me personally Bach means the most.
I have played Bach on piano and on cello, in chamber groups, solo, orchestra.
And I have sung Bach.
For whatever reason, I seem to have an especial affinity to Bach.
The greatest compliment I have ever been given is that Leaves on the Current decided to join with me for eternity.
The 2nd greatest was offered by my last piano teacher in high school, the late Joseph Bloch (died 1909), who was a professor of piano literature in Julliard, yet agreed my senior year of high school to take me on as undisciplined as I was. At Julliard, Jimmy (as he was called by his familiars) was known as the man with the golden ears.
In my final lesson with him, I played the entire first Partita, at the end of which he sat in silence for more than a minute, then finally told me "within the limits of your technique, you play Bach as well as anyone I have ever heard."
I began this post with Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations. It was a work he wrestled with for his entire career, recording it multiple times, playing it in very different fashions.
Bach can be like that. Each time one performs - or hears - a work one thinks s/he know well, one discovers new depths.
I will end as Bach ends one of his great masterpieces, the great B Minor Mass. The music at the end is used twice in the work. It was composed in segments, with Bach - as he often did - reusing music. He finished the work in 1749, the year before he died. As far as we know, the complete work was never performed in his lifetime.
I have sung the complete work under several different oustanding conductors, both in concert and in summer sings held by various choral organizations. When I first sang it I sang tenor. Most of the time I sang bass. It remains one of my favorite pieces of music.
I am so grateful to have had my life illumined and blessed by Bach.
Happy birthday, Sebastian!