Bach on the A train. Every year on March 21, Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday, musicians around the world celebrate Bach in the Subways Day by offering free performances in subways and other public spaces. Performances are planned in Bonn, Berkeley, Seoul, Portland, Amherst, (which doesn't have a subway so the performance will be at a Subway), Singapore, and Budapest, among many others.
The integers are a unique factorization domain, so we can’t tune pianos. That is the saddest thing I know about the integers. [more inside]
Cameron Carpenter is a classical organist who takes his instrument very seriously. If you want to hear him play, check out his versions of Schubert's Erlkönig, Chopin's Revolutionary Étude, and his mostly Bach program at the 2012 BBC Proms (Toccata and Fugue in D minor excerpted here). For more background, see this NYT interview. But please watch that first video at least once -- you won't regret it.
Some highlights from Joshua Rifkin's career(s):
- At the age of 21, in only five weeks, he wrote and conducted The Baroque Beatles Book, an album of Beatles themes rendered in the styles of Bach and Handel.
- On Wildflowers and In My Life, he arranged some of Judy Collin's best tracks, including "Albatross" and "Suzanne."
- Rifkin helped kickstart the 70s ragtime renaissance with three acclaimed Joplin albums.
- In 1981, he published an infamous paper [JSTOR] declaring that Bach's choral work wasn't actually choral work as we understand it. Rather, Bach intended only one singer to take each vocal part...
All of Bach: Every week, you will find a new recording here of one Johann Sebastian Bach’s 1080 works, performed by The Netherlands Bach Society and many guest musicians.
Douglas Hofstadter, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, thinks we've lost sight of what artificial intelligence really means. His stubborn quest to replicate the human mind.
Why I Hate the Goldberg Variations, by Jeremy Denk, whose new (lovely) recording of the Goldberg Variations is now streaming on NPR. Also by Denk: Hannibal Lecter's Guide to the Goldberg Variations, which explores the famous cannibal killer through the lens of Bach. This is Your Brain on the Goldberg Variations, which gets in-depth on just how the Variations vary.
Of the many available documentaries about the pianist Glenn Gould, "Genius within - The inner life of Glenn Gould" is one of the more thoughtful ones. [more inside]
Chaconne from Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita no. 2 for violin (BWV 1004), played on the hammered dulcimer by Mihail Leonchik. Youtube.
Richter: The Enigma 1, 2. In Tours. At the Moscow Conservatory. At the Barbican 1, 2. Well-Tempered Clavier. Italian Concerto. Beethoven Sonatas. TL;DW: Richter plays Chopin
Glenn Gould on and off the record. The Russian Journey. Extasis. Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould. The Goldberg Variations (1955), (1981). The Well-Tempered Clavier. Beethoven Sonatas. The Idea of North. TL;DW: Gould plays Bach
Maria Yudina (1899-1970) born Jewish, devout Christian, staunchly anti-Soviet, and one of the greatest Russian pianists. "Yet she was hidden behind Soviet Russia's iron curtain during her lifetime and was unknown to what is now a rapidly growing and wildly enthusiastic international audience." [more inside]
Lewis Thomas (1913-1993) was a physician and essayist, writing gracefully on topics as varied as language, nuclear war, and our excellent health and deplorable health-care system (PDF). He believed that the existence of Bach vindicates humanity, that "ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment", and that the Earth is perhaps best thought of as a cell. A three-time winner of the National Book Award, Thomas authored Lives of a Cell, which was voted the 11th-best nonfiction work of the 20th century by the Modern Library.
C.P.U. Bach was an interactive music program released by MicroProse in 1993 for the 3DO. Designed by Sid Meier and Jeff Briggs, it generated Baroque pieces in the style of Bach along with accompanying visuals.
The only two things missing in Bach’s music are randomness and sex. This book review was written by Jeremy Denk, who has a blog where you can find more good writing about music.
Election Day Divertimento: Mischa Maisky plays Bach Cello Suite No.1 in G (SLYT)
[Andras] Schiff, 58, has lately been giving a lot of thought to each of the musical keys and the colors he associates with them as he embarks on the Bach Project, a large-scale tour of North America over the next year that will include all that composer’s major keyboard works, played from memory. [more inside]
Musopen, "a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving access and exposure to music by creating free resources and educational materials", have released upwards of 30 professionally performed and recorded classical works into the public domain. The new recordings are on their site listed under Goldberg Variations, Musopen Symphony Orchestra and Musopen String Quartet. [more inside]
What's it like to play Bach with synaesthesia?
Bach's Mass in B Minor: Four lectures and an interactive manuscript (which starts playing automatically) tied to the lectures.
Bach as graph. -- An interactive visualization of the Cello Suite No. 1, Prelude.
The Breaking Winds Bassoon Quartet perform hits by Cee Lo Green, Lady Gaga, Owl City, and even (wotta concept!) manage to sneak in some classical music. (MLYT)
Know who's more fun at parties than you? This guy. [slyt]
So you want to write a fugue? Some examples of modern songs in fugue format: ♫ The Lady Gaga Fugue ♫ The Final Countdown Fugue ♫ The Legend of Zelda Underworld Fugue ♫ The Nokia Ringtone Fugue ♫ The Dragnet Fugue ♫ The Oops, I did it again Fugue ♫ [more inside]
Melodic wooden sculpture plays Bach in the forest. [3m5s] (Final 25 seconds are advertising and can be skipped.)
The melodica has all the irritation and the none of the charm of the accordion, but James Howard Young is doing amazing things with it... and multi-tracking. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no. 3, first movement, arranged for 10 melodicas (the video shows 9), Vivaldi's L'Estro Armonico Concerto no. 8 in A minor for 2 violins, 3rd mvt arranged for 7 melodicas, Bach's Brandenburg Concerto, no 1, first movement, arranged for 12 melodicas. All videos featuring just one melodicist. [more inside]
Carnaval (or Carnival) week is over in Brazil, and the judges have decided: the winning samba schools of the two main parades in the country, Rio and São Paulo, were Beija-Flor and Vai-Vai. And both chose musicians as their themes. Beija-Flor honored Roberto Carlos, known as the king of Brazilian music. From his origins in Jovem Guarda (an early form of Brazilian pop and rock'n'roll) to the adoption of romantic melodies, he is considered a living Elvis Presley. Vai-Vai, on the other hand, chose as a subject João Carlos Martins - whose life could be a MeFi post in itself. [more inside]
Vanessa Mae Nicholson is one of Britain’s most successful young musicians. A classical violinist and former child prodigy who self-describes her crossover style as "violin techno-acoustic fusion," her fans praise her modern creativity and frenetic, lightning-fast riffs. But is her talent learned or genetic? Documentary from BBC1 in 2008: Vanessa Mae - The Making of Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [more inside]
Gödel, Escher, Bach, Tumblr Gödel, Escher, Bach, Tumblr is an online book group. We're reading one chapter a week of Douglas Hofstadter’s 1979 masterpiece book about artificial intelligence, mathematics, consciousness, puzzles, music, and language. They've been reading since the start of the month, so start in the archive. [Previously, More Previously, Event more previously, Previously in the future]
Glenn Gould plays Clavier Ubung bestehend in einer ARIA mit verschiedenen Veraenderungen vors Clavicimbal mit 2 Manualen - also known as the Goldberg Variations. (previously)
The University of Edinburgh, at the request of Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, used computer modeling to redesign the lituus. The horn, made of pinewood with a cow horn mouth piece, was called for by Bach's ‘O Jesu Christ, meins lebens licht.’
Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid has been recorded as a series of video lectures for MIT's Open Courseware project.
John King, likely the world’s only classical ukulele virtuoso, died last month at the age of 55. Here he is performing a Bach prelude, playing more Bach, and playing Chopsticks.
California Guitar Trio plays a quiet version of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in Dm. Here is another solo electric version by Sean Conklin. Finally here is a passionate acoustic electric treatment by Michael Fix.
The brass quintet Canadian Brass is both venerable--it's been around 38 years--and prolific--its discography is as long as your arm. While they often play classical arrangements, they also mix in jazz and blues, along with a complement of showmanship and humor. (Also, they play Flight of the Bumblebee on the tuba.) [Mouseover for titles.]
Britney is not known for her fugues. But you- do you think you got the clever to write a fugue? Get Bach, JoJo!
Eunice Norton (1908-2005) wiki, great-great-grandstudent of Beethoven, gives a detailed, analytical tour of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier #12 in F, Bk I (part 1, part 2, part 3) and #13 in F#, Bk I (part 1, part 2) in a 1989 video. [more inside]
Zenph Studios has developed a process (using high-resolution MIDI) which "re-performed" Glenn Gould's famous 1955 piano recordings of Bach's Goldberg Variations in hybrid multichannel SA-CD format.
David Juritz a leading violinist left his house with a backpack, fiddle and completely empty wallet at the start of a 60,000-mile, twenty-five-country, round-the-world busk. He is raising money for Musequality (read about some of their support efforts, like the M-Lisada Brass Band). His comment about Berlin being a terrible city for busking put me in mind of this post about Joshua Bell. You can donate here if you feel so inclined.
He wasn't the greatest technician on earth (he only studied a short time with a teacher, as states his biography), he wasn't really famous outside Brazil, in spite of the many recordings available under his name, of his various talents (drawing, designing a new string instrument), but his playing is really endearing, and whatever the material, originals, bach or chico buarque, he made his point across easily.
Victim of the Brain A 'docudrama' about Godel, Escher and Bach author, Douglas Hofstadter, and philosopher Dan Dennett produced in 1988. I'm not sure how to describe it, other than incredibly strange and fascinating.
Procol Harum organist wins battle over joint authorship of A Whiter Shade of Pale. Gary Brooker is not amused, but then again it was a Bach ripoff anyway.
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