Tuesday, December 21, 2010

BachFest 2010 & my theory

Georges Braque's "Homage to Bach"
  I have a theory, untested but nonetheless valid, that you--anyone--could hear Ella Fitzgerald 24/7 and no one would complain. She's that good.

My theory evolved in the days when there were battles in the office over control of the radio. Radio! And Lawrence Welk-like tunes and rhythms were forced on the unsuspecting tasteful.

Today I add one name to that theory: J.S. Bach.  I'm less confident no one would complain--not because Bach isn't 24/7 brilliant and entertaining, but because some people are blockheads--but what the heck. Who's going to arrest me, the blog police? I will work on 24/7 Ella.  In the meantime. . .

WKCR, 89.9 FM, the station affiliated with Columbia University, has launched its annual BachFest, extending to (or through, not sure) New Year's Day. J.S. Bach, all seven wonders of the world as musical score. J.S. Bach, the first jazz musician. J.S. Bach, love. J.S. Bach, joy.

I found the following statement on a web site I suggest you check out.  Musician John Stone posts analysis, insight, links and a poem he wrote which sets Bach in the historical musical context, "Introduction to J.S. Bach in his Library." Milan Kundera, a Czech, is, of course, the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

I often imagine him in the year of his death, in the exact middle of the eighteenth century, bending with clouding eyes over The Art of Fugue, a composition whose aesthetic orientation represents the most archaic tendency in Bach's oeuvre (which contains many orientations), a tendency alien to its time, which had already turned completely away from polyphony toward a simple, even simplistic, style that often verged on frivolity or laziness.

                                                                  Milan Kundera

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