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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Have you played some J.S. Bach today?

January 9, 2009 at 10:32 PM

I can't really say it much better than Jonathan Talberg, director of the Los Angeles Bach Festival: "The great cellist Pablo Casals—who was also a fine amateur pianist—is reported to have begun each morning with a walk and dedicated practice of a prelude and a fugue on the piano. Casals, like me and like so many of you, never tired of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach."

Casals apparently wasn't -- and isn't -- the only one with a daily Bach habit: This little girl plays Bach every day before breakfast, and wow, it shows! The composer Samuel Barber is also said to have played or studied Bach every day.

In our current world the violin, Frank Peter Zimmerman also has confessed a daily Bach habit, as has Julia Fischer. I'm guessing that many of you might confess to the same.

And why? A short and simple list of reasons: It never gets tired, it never gets old, it's exercise for the fingers, it's yoga for the soul.

I love Bach. Have you played any today? And if you've played Bach every day for the last 25 years or something, you'd best let us know in the comments down below! ;)


From Jerald Archer
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 12:36 AM

I always have the Solo Violin works open on the music stand, and constantly find myself reviewing them. A little here, and a little there. They are great for easing my mind in order to find solutions to other problems.

From Corwin Slack
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 1:56 AM

How about an answer "not yet" (for those of us you have reminded to play our Bah). 

From Kim Vawter
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 3:14 AM

Everyday. Several times a day. Measure-by measure-by measure-by measure! 

From Luis Dias
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 3:49 AM

Due to work constraints, I haven't played daily for a long time, but for the past few months, I've had some breathing space, and I found myself drawn towards the solo Bach. I consider it almost a spiritual journey; I think I could easily spend a lifetime studying & playing the sonatas and partitas. I've recently come across the violin transciptions of the cello suites, so that's a new mountain to climb!

May the Bacchanalia never stop! 

From Mendy Smith
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Bach was one of the first "real" pieces I played when I was significantly younger.  I can honestly say though, I've been playing a little Bach nearly every day I practice for about 6 years.

From Aiden Hanae
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 4:07 AM

I played the Fuga (sonata) today.I like his music because it's clear like glass.

From Tess Z
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Every day that I practice...I play Bach. Easy excerpts for beginners of course.  He is what keeps me plowing forward learning to play the violin. 

In my darkest hours when, alone in my practice room, my fingers won't move fast enough,  the bow is skidding and bouncing and I'm fighting that demonic voice in my head that is saying..."You'll never play this instrument well"....."Throw it out the window and be done with it!"

I get a grip on reality...and I think of Bach and how badly I want to play his music well.   

As Radar O'Reilly said......"Ahhhhhhh, Bach".   : p


From Paul G.
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 5:10 AM

Yes, absolutely everyday.

I think Bach is one of the only composers you can say this with.
His  works are so numerous and diverse I think it's impossible to get bored. And that inner voice, as Tess said, is always pushing you to get to the point you can play pieces. I'm sure her's is telling her to get to the Sonatas and Partitas, and mine is telling me to continue on with them and get them down good. Hopefully I'll get Chaccone by 20.. or I'll have to push that a little more:)

But I think there is just so much Bach out there, that you can't get through it all, and you could literally play a new piece everyday for quie a while.

I've just ordered the two-part inventions arranged for violin and viola and I'm so excited to learn them. Now just to find a violist.

From Yixi Zhang
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 5:34 AM

I played Bach when I got back to violin after a 20 odd years of break.  Bach is still what I would first play whenever I come back from a break and desperately want to get back to shape.  I always sound better after playing Bach. Not only Bach works on my fingers and my soul, I also find it’s the best way for me to work on the bow arm by playing Bach regularly.  I think the reason may be that Bach’s music is pure and, as Aiden said, “clear like glass,” any uncleanness in playing becomes so obvious and calls for immediate attention.  And of course, the music itself is so divine and complex that you can always learn something new each time you play it.  This is why I play Bach nearly every day.

Great survey topic, Laurie! May we play Bach as long as we live.

From Jenny Fischer
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 5:54 AM

Yep. I sightread some of the first movement of the first unaccompanied sonata and I'm polishing the third and fourth movements of said sonata for my upcoming recital!!! Yay!!!!!!

From Anne Horvath
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 12:58 PM

OK, I voted "yes", even though I will practice Bach later today, after lessons...

I practice solo Bach every day.  Sometimes in depth, sometimes play-though.  I never get sick of playing Bach on violin.  Bach is always challenging, technically, musically, physically.

I never get sick of teaching Bach.  I never get sick of listening to Bach.  And Bach is the only composer that makes me wish I had kept up piano, even on a piteous flailing level.

(I like Bach).

From Royce Faina
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 2:04 PM

When I also came back to playing the violin, a little better than a year ago, and even today, I play BACH. His music can be so learnable and sound so good it's like he wrote it so that anyone could play it and yet so advanced he's tempting me to move along!  When I was playing his Gavotte (SP?) that's when I felt as the SCI-FI Terminator Govenor of California said, "I"m Bach!" ;)

From Larry Deming
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 5:01 PM

What a great idea!  I now have a new resolution - to play Bach every day.

From Mayra Calvani
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 7:46 PM

Thanks for the advice, Laurie. A newbie on the violin like myself (5-year student) needs all the advice she can get. At the moment, my 11-year old daughter is learning a Bach concerto... I better add to my repertoire!


From Larisa Mihaela
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 9:23 PM

Oh, yes , Bach......He , who started it all...The man who wrote the deepest , most profound music , and the mankind, who has spent hundreds of years trying to understand it and penetrate it..And who will spend other hundreds of years doing this...and each time that mankind will think it will have gotten the answer, the enlighting answer, the mistery behind it will once more reveal itsel. As Heifetz  believed , it takes more than a lifetime to get to understand Bach...much more.

So that's just Bach...the kind of music you play everyday , but that never lets you feel you  have done it all.

From Rei Miyasaka
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 11:02 PM

For me, Bach enforces good intonation and clarity and discourages rushing. You can really tell when you mess up.

Besides, Bach is fun to play.

From Chris Rogers
Posted on January 10, 2009 at 11:31 PM

Yes I play solo Bach whenever I have a gap in teaching that is not filled with admin!  I was mad enough to play all 6 in one day for charity last year.  Bit of a major challenge, but an absolute milestone.  It was the fugues that were the biggest challenge.  The Chaconne went surprisingly well!

From Mili Leitner
Posted on January 11, 2009 at 1:16 PM

 I'm taking a few weeks off Bach after near killing myself for auditions. I was doing up to 2 hours a day on the G minor Adagio and Fugue for over 3 months and that didn't exactly put me off, although I think after that kind of intense practice it's nice to play something really different for a little while. But I plan to present the whole Bm Partita in a recital in a few months, so reworking that will be fun, and I guess work on that will start soon. Do I miss Bach at the moment? Yes!

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on January 11, 2009 at 2:29 PM

When I first started the viola I played several movements of the suites and I've performed a couple of the movements in small venues such as church.  But I'm working on other things now and have put the Bach aside because of time constraints--so to be honest, I had to vote no, not today.  Not yesterday either. I do miss it.  Maybe it would be worth a few minutes a day, no matter what, to just center myself.

From Benjamin K
Posted on January 11, 2009 at 4:42 PM

My daily practise wouldn't be complete without Bach.

@ Paul

"I've just ordered the two-part inventions arranged for violin and viola and I'm so excited to learn them. Now just to find a violist."

You don't need a violist, just another violinist. Point your browser at the Werner Icking Music Archive and download the arrangements for two violins (of the two-part inventions). Won't even cost you anything cause they're public domain.

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on January 12, 2009 at 10:27 PM


yes. I finish the early mornign tevhnique sesison wth a movement from ther d minor partita (not the Chacconne).  That way I not only remind myself the violin is about music and thta ethcnique is only a means to an end and also I can perrom any of those movements anytime,  anywhere without practice.



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