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Music in the Making

Music In The Making: Bach-analia

You’re cordially invited to Bach’s birthday bash!


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On this week’s episode, we’re celebrating Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday with an hour of music written and inspired by the great composer.

Bach's Birthday!
Anya Wilkening
Bach’s Birthday!

Bach-Busoni: Chaconne in D minor
Angela Cheng
Moores Opera House

Excerpted from the Violin Partita Number 2 in D minor, the Chaconne alone is a monumental work, consisting of over 60 variations over the same ground bass pattern. Violinist Yehudi Menhuin described the movement as “the greatest structure for solo violin that exists.” In transcribing it for keyboard, Busoni vividly re-imagined the work, utilizing the sonic resources offered by the new instrument.

Getting Festive with John Clayton
Anya Wilkening
Getting Festive with John Clayton

John Clayton: Bach to Blues
Dennis Whittaker
Moores Opera House

John Clayton is an American jazz and classical bassist. Because he has links to both worlds, he uniquely positioned to represent both, as is evidenced in his piece “Bach to Blues.”

George Rochberg: Nach Bach
Jeanne Kierman Fischer
Duncan Recital Hall

Like Clayton, George Rochberg is a contemporary composer who looks to the past for inspiration. In his work “Nach Bach,” which literally translates to “After Bach,” Rochberg utilizes material sourced from Bach’s Partita No. 6 in e minor, incorporating literal quotes, transforming the Bach, as well as including entirely original music by Rochberg.

Happy Birthday, Bach!
Happy Birthday, Bach!

J.S. Bach: Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 227
Collegium Musicum, Ars Lyrica Houston
Moores Opera House

A devout Protestant, much of Bach’s music was written with religious intent. His motets, of which there are six, are one example of this. In Bach’s day, the accepted definition of a motet emphasized its contrapuntal writing, use of biblical text, and utilization of voices accompanied by basso continuo. These elements are all evident in Jesu, meine Freude, which was written in 1723 for the funeral of Johanna Maria Kasin.

This episode originally aired Sunday, March 26th, 2017. Catch Music in the Making every Sunday at 7:06 PM on Houston Public Media Classical.