Tag: Bach

Pablo Casals: A Word about Classical Music Performers

 

It’s easy to be critical of performances. We all have our preferences and tastes. But sometimes it’s worthwhile to remember that where we put our attention may make all of the difference.

In the 1960s, a great Russian cellist named Gregor Piatigorsky published his autobiography, simply titled Cellist. He always wanted to meet Pablo Casals, the legendary cellist. One day he was invited to the home of a wealthy family to play for a guest who wanted to hear him.

The Merry Month of May: My First Beatles Album

 

Bach Meets the BeatlesSomehow, even as a child of the sixties, I survived to adulthood without a single Beatles album to my name.  My mother, whose musical tastes were quite eclectic, never cottoned to the Lads from Liverpool, and they didn’t “send” me much, either.  We came to the United States in October of 1963 thinking that perhaps we’d escaped the phenomenon–but, No!  They followed us here, making their first stateside appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9 of the following year.  But I never traveled hundreds of miles, or stood in line for hours or days, to buy tickets to a Beatles performance.  I never formed part of a hysterical mob of screaming young women greeting them at the airport, or at the arena or concert hall.  I never howled, or fainted, or threw my panties at the stage while watching them perform.  I never even bought one of their records, not 45, or 33 1/3, single, or long-playing, ever.

Mr. She, although growing up in earlier times, likes The Beatles, and I discovered when we took up together, that he did have a few of their albums.  “Oh, well,” I said to myself.  “Can’t win ’em all.  He’s really fond of jazz, too.  Argh.”  So our home was occasionally graced by what I considered some caterwauling, in between my playing what amused me–early twentieth-century music hall songs and ballads, eighteenth-century Scottish music, old fashioned country-and-western, some African composers, Flanders and Swann.  And Bach.  You know, the stuff every girl plays on the gramophone when she has a chance.  Still no Beatles for me.

Somewhere, after a few years of marriage, that changed.  Mr. She gave me a birthday present of… a Beatles album!  And I loved it.

Member Post

 

I have been working on the Prelude to the second of Bach’s Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello for FAR too many weeks. Not only do I have a hard time staying in tune – my Starker edition features a lot of second position which I never properly learned – but Bach is *so* vertical that […]

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Making Beauty Accessible

 

Lutherans probably beat out even the Anglican communion when it comes to active liturgical worship. While it’s not exactly true that Lutherans are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony, the congregation in a Lutheran church is expected to do more than just hunker down in silence. No, silent hunkering is only for those periods of worship where silent hunkering is required – in which case Lutherans are really quite good at it. The rest of the time, though, Lutherans are expected to do stuff. Read together, sing together, pray together. To this day, my lapsed Lutheran family thinks there’s something “papist” about worship services where the congregation can get by without singing.

In a previous post, I described how, even when art strives to imitate nature, it produces something more than just nature, and I used this imitation of nature as an example:

Member Post

 

I went to a concert Tuesday evening. It was chamber music performed by five members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. They played several pieces in various configurations. They started with Bach’s Sonata for Violin and Keyboard Number 2 in A major BWV 1015. In Bach’s time, the modern pianoforte didn’t exist. The small keyboard instruments […]

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