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.
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.
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.
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
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]
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]
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]
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 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.]
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.
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.
An interactive Shockwave-based look at Bach's Well-tempered Clavier. Go one level up and explore the entire coverage of Bach.
BBC Radio 3 has spent the two weeks before Christmas playing Bach 24 hours a day. By the end of the day tomorrow, they'll have played his entire surviving body of work. Unfortunately, I just discovered this fact last night. Fortunately, Radio 3 makes their broadcasts available online for a full week, which means that Bach-heads who start listening now can get 192 hours of free streamed Bach via the BBC3 online radioplayer.
"I haven't been in a concert hall in 4 billion years". Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, 54, had been excited about an invitation to see the Los Angeles Philharmonic in action at Disney Hall. "The anticipation is horrible". He'd started showering daily at a shelter, to gussy himself up as much as possible. Nathaniel was a music student more than 30 years ago at the Juilliard School when he suffered a breakdown. Today, as he continues to battle the schizophrenia that landed him on skid row, he plays violin and cello for hours each day in downtown Los Angeles, lifting his instruments out of an orange shopping cart on which he has written: "Little Walt Disney Concert Hall — Beethoven." After the Philharmonic's rehearsal, Ayers has played Disney Hall -- the real one, this time. Without the bow at first, picking the strings with his right hand, Bach's Cello Suite No. 1: Prelude. Several Philharmonic staffers heard the music and wandered over, peering in to see a man of the streets, tattered and elegant, close his eyes and drift into ecstasy.
Forty years ago this week the public was introduced to the works of P.D.Q. Bach at a concert in New York's Town Hall. It's as good a time as any to look at the one-of-a-kind output of Peter Schickele. (A lot more inside)
Jimi Hendrix's National Anthem, on acoustic cello. Plus Bach at CBGB (to mixed reviews), and a national club tour, and an album.