Friday, December 10, 2010

Bach you should know

A nineteenth century depiction of the Bach family at morning
music practice. Bach is at the keyboard.
I came across this interesting article I'd like to share with you:
Five Bach Pieces You Need To Know by Ben Beers

One of the 5 must-know works is of course:

BWV 232 – B Minor Mass, 'Agnus Dei'

Ben says: "Much of Bach's music was written for the church. The B Minor Mass is one of his more famous ecclesiastical pieces. Although it's in minor key, it certainly isn't depressing or downtrodden - in fact, it's almost therapeutic. The whole piece carries an atmosphere of gentle resignation. A word of warning, however: if you're not experienced with erudite music, it may bore you the first time around. But don't give up. Pay attention to it and listen a few times through, and you'll understand what makes it so important."

That's really interesting. Not being overly experienced with erudite music, that's exactly what I felt when I first listened to the whole of the mass: I was bored. Now that we have started rehearsing this work, I'm discovering Bach's usual genius and I revel in the glorious soaring lines, fugal bits and other bobs. (You can also see I'm not a musicologist - who would ever talk of the 'bits and bobs' of music!?)

Read more at Suite101: Five Bach Pieces You Need To Know

Have you listened to the whole of the B Minor Mass? How did you like it? We love feedback on this blog, so let us know what you think!


Leanne daharja said...

Hi Leta - I'm guessing what you call "bobs" are the things I call "twiddly bits"!

(There's probably an official important-y, high falutin sounding name for them, but I don't know what that is!)

Love that painting. I was wondering who the second woman in the piccy was, and then it came to me - of course! It must be Helga Schümaker! ;-)

Leta said...

Hi Leanne, yes "twiddly bits" sounds about right and then there's also "leaping up and down bits", the sudden large intervals not easily mastered by most singers.

You may be right about Helga - how nice to have such a large family all making sweet music together.