Saturday, June 15, 2019

My Bach listening project


Johann Sebastian Bach

Do you guys ever have "listening projects"? I know that Eric Wagner does, for one; a couple of years ago or so, he listened to every one of Beethoven's piano sonatas, listening to each one several times before moving on to the next. (I can't remember the exact details).

Lately as my latest listening project I have been going through my copy of the Bach Guild's Big Bach Cantatas Box -- 99 cents for more than six hours of Johann Sebastian Bach cantatas I can stream anytime. These vocal works are some the best music ever written by anyone, although the performance of one of my favorites, Cantata No. 140, Wachet auf, is not one of my favorites. (You can get a good performance of it if you get the Bach Guild's Bigger Bach Set. It will set you back $3, but it has more than 14 hours of music.)

When I listened to the instrumental piece that begins Cantata No. 29, a fine composition, I remembered it from hearing the Walter/Wendy Carlos album, Switched on Bach, when I was in college in the 1970s.

Robert Anton Wilson has a nice summary of his feelings toward various composers at the back of Right Where You Are Sitting Now, in "Credo."  He writes, "I believe in Bach, the creator of heaven and earth, and in Mozart, his only begotten son, and in Beethoven, the mediator and comforter; and inasmuch as their gods have manifested also in Vivaldi and Ravel and Stravinsky and many another, I believe in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of error, and Mind everlasting."

7 comments:

Eric Wagner said...

Cool project. Erich Leinsdorf has some interesting comments on the cantatas in The Composer’s Advocate.

Lvx said...

I’m more of a jazz lover, though i do like many classical compositions. I’m a fan of Glenn Gould recordings. Some of the Beethoven piano sonatas are extraordinary. Still, it’s Charles Mingus that really does it for me.

Eric Wagner said...

Lvx, have you read “The Bear Comes Home” by Rafi Zabor? I consider that my favorite book on jazz. Mingus’s music plays a role in it.

Lvx said...

No, I’ve not, but I will be finding a copy straight away. Thanks.

I became a fan of Radiohead after I read in an interview of his influence upon them... was thinking of that tonight as I drove 4 hours with their music turned up just a notch below uncomfortably loud.

Eric Wagner said...

Flea of the Chili Peppers also loved Mingus.

Eric Wagner said...

I prefer the paperback of The Bear Comes Home to the hardcover. Rafi made some improvements to the text and added a great listener’s guide at the end.

Lvx said...

Thanks for the tip, ordering now.