Friday, January 10, 2014

If It Isn't Baroque, Don't Fix It.

File:Statue of J.S. Bach in Leipzig.jpg

The Shed as a retreat is extremely versatile.  For example, it has recently enabled me to run away to Leipzig in the first half of the 18th century.  That's the time and place to which JS Bach belonged.

I did not accomplish this through anything fantastical like time travel nor by anything too mundane like downloading some tracks to my mobile phone.  My escape was not mere passive consumption.  It was achieved through attempting to re-create some of Bach's music in a manner that I consider fit and proper.

Yes, I could have simply listened to the CDs again.  But to be honest, some of the re-interpretations and so-called performances of Bach's preludes and fugues make me want to - well, not quite burn my ears off with acid.  Certainly, at least, they make me want to listen to something else.

That's why I take it upon myself to arrange and produce my own recordings of Bach's most astonishing works.  In not just the history of keyboard instruments, but in all human history, the Preludes and Fugues are among Mankind's greatest achievements.

Yes, Baroque music may be considered quaint and primitive in comparison to mind-blowing experiences like Rachmaninoff or Jimi Hendrix.  But closer inspection of these pieces reveals a depth and complexity that would make any century proud to claim them.

True, Baroque music is extremely simple rhythmically.  Four evenly-spaced beats repeated, then divided equally in half, then divided equally again and again.  Nothing can be simpler, and our entire system of music notation is based on the temporal simplicity of that age.  But that simplicity is more than made up for in its harmonic complexity.  There are harmonies of harmonies, or meta-harmonies.  Bach's harmonic systems exhibit almost fractal divisibility.

But, there's no use talking about it.  Enjoy the fruits of my efforts:  the D-Major Prelude and Fugue, BWV 532.  Being in a major key, it's relatively up-beat and cheerful.  But not so much as to forget one's dignity.

So sit back, put on headphones, and leave the 21st Century for the next 10 minutes and 34 seconds.