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Laurie Niles

Happy 326th birthday, Johann Sebastian Bach

March 21, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Where would we be without the music of this great German composer, born in 1685. He was prolific in every way: in his 65 years he composed more than 1,000 works -- and he had 20 children (10 who survived to adulthood).

We violinists are grateful for the many wonderful works he gave us to play, particularly his concerti for violin(s) and the solo Sonatas and Partitas that lie at the heart of our repertoire.

I was looking for a video and was stopped in my tracks by this recording of Bach's Chaconne from the violin solo Partita in D minor, played by one of our great living violinists, Itzhak Perlman. Listen, enjoy:


From Marsha Weaver
Posted on March 21, 2011 at 5:16 PM

The world is a much brighter place for once having J. S. Bach as a resident.  No matter how bleak my mood may get, listening to Bach always lifts me from any emotional muck and mire.  Happy Birthday, Johann!!


From Erin Rushforth
Posted on March 21, 2011 at 6:44 PM

I have this birthday on my calendar, and I was thinking it would be fun to celebrate with my students during lessons today. I will also be sending them all a link to this post, Laurie!


From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on March 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM

Yes happy birthday to this wonderful man who greatly enriched the world with his music!

I love all his works but especially his Concertos, his wonderful Double Concerto and the Brandenburg.  Music doesn't always have to be full of virtuosic show off stuff to be great even VERY great music! 

How much honesty, humanity and beauty in his works.

I will remember all my life that when I played Brandenburg as a member of a string group in a festival, the director of the conservatory said: Good job but... Bach was a happy man and all look so nervous and tense.  Very true : )


From Eugene Chan
Posted on March 22, 2011 at 5:16 AM

He's 326 already?! Man, he doesn't look a day over 250.


From Julian Stokes
Posted on March 22, 2011 at 6:42 AM

I was just thinking wouldn't it be a great idea if you could get a download for your computer calendar showing all these birthdays on it. Well, it seems I'm a bit behind the times - you can. Here's one for composers born between 1600 and 1899

[EDIT] I was gobsmacked to see my calendar shows JS Bach's birthday as 31st March. It turns out that's because 21st March as give is the old style Julian (ha!)  calendar. 31st corresponds to the modern Gregorian calendar.


From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on March 23, 2011 at 8:35 PM

 By chance I just happened on a book called The Cello Suites, J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece by Eric Siblin.  It contains extensive, and fascinating biographical stories about J.S. Bach and the other Bachs too.

http://www.ericsiblin.com/pages/cello.html

Janet Maslin writes, in the New York Times:

“The idea to write a book about the Bach suites, one that is not aimed at classical connoisseurs,” came to Mr. Siblin when he attended a recital in Toronto in 2000. “The idea was vague, but I had a strong sense that there was a story there, somewhere, and decided to follow in the footsteps of the notes,” he writes. Although those footsteps do not lead him in anything resembling a straight line, they take him all over the Bach landscape in ways that make “The Cello Suites” a work of ever-percolating interest. Mr. Siblin winds up mixing high and low musical forms, art and political histories, Bach’s and Casals’s individual stories and matters of arcane musicology into a single inquisitive volume.

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