Celebrating our Students and Faculty
The Hartt School Community Division publishes a monthly e-newsletter during the academic year that celebrates the accolades, special performances, and success stories of our students and faculty.
Highlighting our Comprehensive Programming
HCD also distributes a weekly Monday Mailer via e-mail that acts as a snapshot of our programmatic information. This includes approaching registration deadline reminders, new program announcements, and unique program highlights. The Monday Mailer runs throughout the summer, in addition to the academic year.
The Daily Dose of Bach
The Sunday March 21 Daily Dose of Bach celebrates J.S. Bach's 336th birthday!
Hartt School faculty and directors have contributed their own performances of Bach or links to favorite Bach recordings along with some thoughtful reflection for this celebratory final post of the Daily Dose of Bach.
As we have seen throughout our 21 posts this month, Bach's music has a limitless capacity to speak to people across time and space and has brought life and energy into the lives of listeners in every era.
In our own time, and especially during the last year, his music has been a lifeline of solace, beauty, and love.
Happy Birthday Johann Sebastian Bach!
(Find below enough Bach to keep you listening until next year! Add your own favorites to this list!)
Nancy Anderson, Chair of Vocal studies, HCS
My husband and I sang a Bach duet to each other at our wedding.
The duet is “Mein Freund ist Mein” from Cantata BWV 140 “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme”.
Nancy Andersen Translation: My friend is mine, and I am yours, Nothing shall divide our love. I want to graze on heaven's roses with you, You will graze on heaven's roses with me, There will be fullness of joy, there will be delight.
The other duet in Cantata 140 features a gorgeous violin solo!
Soul: When are you coming, my salvation?
Jesus: I come, your portion.
Soul: I wait with burning oil.
Jesus:Open the hall
Soul: I open the hall
Both: o the heavenly feast.
Soul: Come, Jesus!
Jesus: Come, lovely soul!
Tamila Azadaliyeva, piano, HCS
Definitely the Bach D minor concerto! !divine work.
Here is a performance by Glenn Gould ((playing starts after minute 5)
Reagan Brasch, Suzuki violin/viola, chamber music, HCS
I love the Chromatic Fantasy. (Bach/Kodaly) I just discovered this piece by reading about it in the book “Exile Music’ about a musical Jewish family that flees to Bolivia to escape the Nazis. The father of the main character is a violist and the first thing he plays in Bolivia is the Fantasia Chromatica. I had never heard of that. (And now it’s my favorite) I can’t believe there is still Bach to discover!
The book is called Exile Music. Soooooo good
Sima Brodsky, piano, Chamber Music, HCS
Oh dear, there is so Bach from which to choose!
I LOVE Andras Schiff! Anything he does is gold to me! But to come up with one favorite thing, I don’t know if I have one – just one! I have to say that his performance of the B minor French suite has got to be one of the ones on top of my list
Nicholas Citro, viola/violin, HCS
It's so hard to narrow it down, isn’t it? I think I’d have to pick two..2.
1. Little fugue in g minor
When I’m in the mood for something majestic and 17th century hard rock. Recommend with speakers full blast! Performer: Ton Koopman organ
I turn to this performance by Leon Fleisher of Sheep May Safely Graze when I need soothing after a challenging day. Fleisher is hero of mine who I was fortunate to have met and played under in orchestra. Such an inspirational man!
Melinda Daetsch, violin/viola and Chair of Chamber Music HCS, Viola faculty, The Hartt School
Hands down my favorite piece of music of all time is Bach's Goldberg Variations. Hands down! I especially love Glenn Gould's 1981 recording. I also love Dmitry Sitkovetsky arrangement of the Goldberg Variations (which you can hear Steve Larson and Annie Trépanier performing on his post) Sitkovetsky was also inspired by Glenn Gould's interpretation of the Goldberg Variations to voice his string arrangement along the same lines.
This also really makes me happy:
The Drake Daily Dose:
Emmett Drake, Conductor: Suzuki Orchestras; Conductor: Opus 89'; Composition, Voice HCS
Samantha Hiller Drake, Suzuki violin, chamber music, Co-chair of Strings HCS,
and Clara Drake, baby.
Bach's family was full of musicians, and so is the Drake family.. they thought they'd get together and prepare a Bach performance for this special Birthday post....
They say: "Apparently, getting things done with a busy one-year-old is a challenge..."
Teri Einfeldt, violin, Director Hartt Suzuki Program, chamber music, Co-chair of strings HCS
Also, Augustin Hadelich speaks beautifully about Bach in this preview of his new album of Bach Sonatas and Partitas that is being released in April 2021.
Christie Felsing Director of Teaching and Learning, Community ProgramsInstrumental Studies, Suzuki violin HCS
One of many, many excellent choices possibilities is this recent project of James Ehnes.
Michelle Fiertek Director, Community Programs, HCS, Artist Teacher/Voice
My favorite! One of my first memories of J.S. Bach was hearing English soprano Ruth Holton sing the transfixing “Ich folge dir gleichfalls” (I follow you likewise) from St. John Passion BWV 245. The aria takes place after the arrest of Jesus, and expresses the view of Simon Peter and another disciple who say they will follow Jesus with joyful steps, because he is their light and life. You will hear their joyful dedication to this journey in the interplay between the voice and the flute.
Noah Blocker-Glynn, Associate Dean The Hartt School
The moment I first sang Bach, was the moment I knew there would be no greater calling for me. Choral music! There was something so precise and comforting - the symmetry!
Barbara Hill, Horn, HCS, Artist Teacher The Hartt School
This has been my inspiration when preparing for auditions so that I can get that authentic / inspired by sound that he intended. All the stopped notes really allow me to understand the phrasing better, as well as which ones are more important!!
I like Tafekmusik doing Brandenburg 1!
Kevin Huhn bass, chamber music HCS
Bach Gamba Sonata no 1 in G majorNo solo works of Bach are safe from the reaches of modern bass players. While cello suites were the norm for study for many years, bassists are extending their scope to include movements from the violin partitas. The sonatas for viola da gamba are also frequently studied, and perhaps most appropriate for our instrument.
This piece was an introduction for me to many incredible composers who wrote for the gamba: Carl Friedrich Abel, Marin Marais, Sainte Colombe, and many others. Hearing performers play these works today is an inspiration to continue studying performance practice, and to search for new ways to approach old and familiar works.
Calida Jones, Director of Community Engagement, Music and Dance HCS, violin
I love his translation of Bach. It’s brilliant. Challenges your mind with the decisions he makes in terms of phrasing articulations it’s a personal conversation in my opinion that he’s having with his violin and Bach.
Barbara Johnson,Hartt Academic Advisor; Suzuki and Artist Teacher of Piano HCS
I do love the Bach Double (in Suzuki Book 4 and 5) and I could not wait for my daughter Rena to learn it! We had to be creative as she had to learn it during the pandemic. We listened to recordings and I played the other part on the piano so she could hear it.
I was also inspired by the movie Music of the Heart that I watched many times as a teacher but also to enjoy the Bach!
We like a recording of Jenny Yun. She recorded both parts.
Katie Kennedy, cello, HCS
Carrie Koffman, Saxophone, The Hartt School
Two of the members of this group were my students at the time of this recording, and one, Perry Roth, is now on the faculty at the Hartt Community School:
Katie Lansdale ,Violin Faculty Hartt and HCS; Principal Artist Teacher of Violin
Bach E Maj. vln concerto, Thomas Zehetmair and Northern Sinfonia in the UK. Soooo swinging! In lieu of that specific performance, he plays with the Amsterdam Soloists in this lively recording.
Steve Larson, Violin/viola HCS, Viola Senior Artist Teacher, The Hartt School
JS Bach - Goldberg Variations, transcribed for String Trio.
Malgosia Lis, Suzuki piano, coordinator piano chamber music, HCS
This. Hands down. For women’s history month.
Donna Ngai, Suzuki violin/SECE, HCS
I really love listening to the clarity of phrasing and beautiful warmth of Augustin Hadelich’s Bach recordings right now. When I feel like I need more focus or clarity for myself I go watch/listen to him play.
Emlyn Ngai, Artist Teacher of Violin and Associate Chair of Chamber Music,The Hartt School, chamber music, HCS
Last year on Bach's birthday, (March 21, 2020) Tempesta di Mare was to have given this performance at Bach's church in Leipzig. With travel grounded, that trip didn't happen, but the music went on, and one year later on Bach's birthday 2021 we can enjoy this again!
Recorded live in concert on Tempesta di Mare's Philadelphia Concert Series on March 1, 2020 at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral. Audio engineer: Andrès Villalta. Video: Chris Zimmerman
(editorial note~here is Emlyn also as soloist in Brandenburg 5)
Rita Porfiris, Viola, Chair of Chamber Music, The Hartt School
Susan Robison, cello, HCS
If I had to choose only one piece to listen to by Bach this would be it :) Truly divine”
Sarah Washburn, violin, viola, and chamber music faculty, HCS
This video popped up in my facebook memories today, and it definitely gives me joy to play this movement, it seemed like the perfect piece for the first day of Spring! "
Greg Woodward, President, University of Hartford
THANK YOU for being part of the Daily Dose of Bach! Keep listening and discovering his amazing music until we meet again next year!
The Daily Dose.... will be BACH in 2022!
The Saturday March 20th Daily Dose of Bach post is a little different than the previous 19 posts. Today we feature reflections from the members of the Hartt Community School Viola Tour group who helped put "The Daily Dose of Bach" project together.
We also include links to today's student Bach Birthday Bash recitals, hot off the press, (unedited and with a few rough edges here and there ) to offer as a musical birthday present to Bach, and to our listeners.
From wherever we are on our journeys of music development, we can enjoy and share Bach's music!
The first recital, The Bratsche Bach Birthday Bash features members of the Viola Tour Group, younger violists from the Hartt Suzuki Viola Program, and some special invited guests.
The second recital includes violinists (and a few violists who weren't on the morning recital program) from my studio who were also involved in researching Bach and his pieces that they were polishing as a project for this month.
Read below what some of the members of the Viola Tour Group who authored various Daily Dose posts had to say about Bach, about quarantine, and about online music making~
This is where we started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5En9BupHY0
And this is where we went..
Brady Xue ~Daily Dose of Bach post from March 8 ~ "Goldberg Variations and Bach A minor violin concerto"
I learned a lot about Bach throughout the Daily Dose project, and one thing specifically that I liked was that people can play the music like it was originally written, with different tuning and instruments, or they can play it in a totally new fashion, with a spin on a piece. The comparison is interesting to watch." the last year of quarantine has been difficult for everybody. People have all had to adapt to online learning and the new social customs. However, quarantine has taught me a lot about technology, and how to value small things in life, like going outside more.
Anna Baker ~ March 7 ~ "Bach Arioso"
Here's what I learned: I loved learning all about how Bach influenced other musicians and how much of a legacy Bach left on the musical community. During Quarantine, it was nice to find some sense of normalcy by playing familiar pieces written by Bach.
Michael Nardi ~March 9 ~ "Bach and Gounod, and how Bach draws us together"
I learned that Bach was both a great organist and violinist which I thought was pretty cool. And I learned that once he took two months off even though he only was supposed to take two weeks.
And what the last year of quarantine has been like is that it’s been fine except that I can’t see my friends and can’t learn properly.
Andrew Zhong ~March 5~ "A Crash Course on Bach" ~ and March 12 ~ "Heavy Metal Bach"
There are quite a few things that people do from day to day. We experience life as it comes, and that means experiencing everything that comes with it. Music is included. However, just because music is a defined word doesn't mean that it cannot imply the meaning of other words. As we spend our lives moving forward, one step at a time, we begin to realize this. Before we know it, we're growing up, and we're not sure exactly what comes next.
However, the music we've listened to will always be music. It's just... it's something DIFFERENT. It's in what we hear, what we experience, and what we feel. It differs our emotions, thought processes, and beliefs. Eventually, it can be something that helps tie us together-- and to this world.
Bach is somebody who makes music that remembers this; music that remembers humanity. Day by day, year by year, century by century, the music he makes still sounds the same. However, it may feel slightly different for all of us, and continue to change. That's not something you can really find every day."
Zuri Freeman ~ March 3 ~ "Hilary Hahn", and March 15 ~ "Bach's Greatest Hits"
I really like how Bach’s music can be played in many different ways, and I like the video with the beatboxer and also the one with the dancers. I liked getting to hear all the different Bach pieces that people found for the Daily Dose posts.
Germaine Green ~ March 4 ~ "Hilary Hahn and more solo Bach"
Doing this music program virtually… I’m just really grateful to be able to do this, especially during this time, because for me, music is like an escape from what’s going on in the outside world.
Stephanie Korkmaz ~ March 2 ~ "Bach and Painting"
I liked seeing all the ways that Bach’s music can be appreciated. I like the connection between visual art and his music. I have many friends who are artists and so this made an impression on me.
1) The Bach Bratsche Birthday Bash recital, Saturday March 20, 9:30-11
2) Bach's Birthday Bash recital no 2, Saturday March 20, 3pm
LAST BUT NOT LEAST~
Look for tomorrow's final DAILY DOSE OF BACH post! It will be full of musical treasure!!
The March 19th Daily Dose of Bach features unusual and inventive performances of Bach's music, some on instruments you wouldn't have imagined.
"Imagine walking through the woods and then suddenly hearing the calming melodies of Bach playing in the distance. That’s exactly the type of magical scenario that creative director Morihiro Harano and his team at Mori Inc. created in 2012. The company collaborated with carpenter Mitsuo Tsuda and sound engineer Kenjiro Matsuo to create a giant xylophone in a forest that plays a special wooden symphony.
Elevated above the forest floor, the huge xylophone was installed in the woods of Kyushu, Japan. It comprises hundreds of different-sized pieces of wood, each of which plays a different note when struck. In a video showcasing the instrument, a wooden ball is placed at the start of the xylophone, which descends at a slight angle. As the ball rolls freely down, it hits each wooden panel and plays the notes of Bach’s Cantata 147, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring"
Talk about the "domino effect!!
And here is Bach's original setting of the same tune.
And how about this "bottle-licious" rendition of Bach's Art of the Fugue....
Though Bach did not specify the instrumentation for the Art of the Fugue, it's probably a safe bet that he didn't have beer bottles in mind when he was writing the work. But who knows, he might have liked it! Here is a performance of the Australian Chamber Orchestra that is likely more along the lines of something he would have imagined.
And our final Bach surprise for today's post... the Cuban music group TIEMPO LIBRE play and talk about their Grammy nominated album: BACH IN HAVANA.
"you can dance with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach... he has the DNA of the music of the world" ~ Tiempo Libre
Have a wonderful Friday filled with many more good twists and surprises!
Today's Daily Dose of Bach features a taste of chorales and cantatas. Over the course of the last 18 days, we haven't spent much time investigating Bach's choral works and it is high time that we turn our attention there!
The great bulk of Bach's music was composed for worship in the form of scripture set to music~ often in 4-part vocal hymns (chorales). Bach often harmonized simple hymn tunes of Martin Luther's whose teachings he followed. (see below)
"A chorale is usually a simple and catchy melody to which a hymn is sung by soprano singers with a congregation, while the three lower voices provide the harmony. The church reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) advocated the use of hymns sung in German during services and himself translated texts from Latin so that the people could understand them and participate. This created an immediate need for a large repertoire of new chorales. Luther wrote several, worked on their tunes, and helped publish them. Today, many of the Lutheran chorales are familiar as hymns used in Protestant churches, sung in four-voice harmony."
J.S. Bach’s four-part (or four-voice) chorales are classical music’s ultimate masterpieces in harmony. Bach composed a total of over 350 chorales... A typical church cantata by Bach usually included a chorale as the final movement, which most today would refer to as a “church hymn,” although Bach’s chorales are usually a bit more harmonically complex than most popular hymns we are familiar with today. All the great composers after Bach — Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, etc. — were thoroughly grounded in the harmonic style perfected and codified by Bach in his chorales. Even though later composers did not always write strictly in four voices as Bach did in his chorales, they nevertheless relied on the voice-leading rules set forth by Bach.
Some of Bach's best-known tunes are embedded in his chorale Cantatas, as in "Wachet Auf" BWV 140 ("Sleepers Awake", or literally " "Wake Up!") The most famous tune in this Cantata can be found at the 15'18" mark on the recording below. You might have heard this before arranged in different ways. But listen to the whole Canata if you can!
This selection of links only begins to scratch the surface of instrumental arrangements that exist. (The Hartt Community School Viola Tour Group has even played a version arranged for viola ensemble in the past!)
And if you still have trouble waking up after listening to Bach's "Wachet Auf" cantata, try his Coffee Cantata! (Not kidding! It's a real thing!)
The Daily Dose of Bach for March 17 brings us a fusion of (what else?) Irish fiddle music and the dance forms of JS Bach. Just in time for Saint Patrick's Day!
Though Bach never traveled outside his native Germany, his music, as we have discovered, travels effortlessly between nations, cultures, and time periods. With all the dances Bach wrote in his lifetime, it only stands to reason that his music would find a home in the world of Irish gigs and slip reels!
Check out this Celtic/Classical Fusion called "Bach in Ireland"
Bach in Ireland violinist Maria Millar writes: "When I returned to Juilliard (after being in Ireland) I thought I’d pair various movements of Bach with Irish tunes of the same rhythm. ‘Bach in Ireland’ is the result of this experimentation; bits of Bach are worked into the jig, slip jig and reel, and the Bach solos are infused with Celtic pulse. My hope is that this unusual pairing will showcase the beauty of both styles in a fun and new light!”
Next we hear violinist MinTze Wu blend a traditional Irish jig with the Gigue from Bach's d minor Partita no 2 BWV 1004. (Born in Taiwan and trained as a classical violinist at the Juilliard School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music, and after a career devoted to the classical masters, she decided to take up traditional Celtic fiddling — and then combined her new skill with the most demanding pieces by J.S. Bach.
And while we're on the topic of traditional fiddle music and Bach, let's take a quick trip from Ireland to Sweden to hear the Air from Bach's third orchestral Suite played in the Swedish folk tradition with fiddle and Nyckelharpa.
And finally, this piece for organ by Hans-André Stamm entitled "Bach in Ireland" seemed a fitting close for our Saint Patrick's Day post. It's a little bit Bach, a little bit Riverdance....
May the road rise to greet you, and may the wind be always at your back... and may you dance a gigue for Bach today!
The March 16th Daily Dose of Bach features the famous last movement of Partita no 2 in D minor BWV 1004 for solo violin; the Bach Chaconne.
The chaconne was a stately slow dance in triple time that was popular in Bach's day. Chaconnes were often composed in major keys but Bach's choice of a minor key (D minor) might have reflected the fact that he composed this piece while grieving the death of his first wife. (In fact, Bach poured out a number of compositions in D minor, leading some to believe that it may have become his favorite key.)
You can read more about the piece in this thoughtful article from The On Being Project:
There are as many different interpretations of this great work as there are soloists who play the piece. Find a few below, starting with the version with which I grew up by the great violinist Henryk Szeryng. Hear him play while following Bach's own score at this link:
Follow the next link to hear the Chaconne performed by violinist Johnny Gandelsman, bringing the chaconne dance steps into the 21st century with the Limón Dance Company,
The Chaconne has also been arranged for other instruments, in this case, for piano by Ferruccio Busoni) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOHiI_5yycU
And in this video, filmed outdoors in the natural beauty of the Hawaiian island of Maui, the Chaconne is played by guitarist Ben Verdery
Finally, in a video made shortly after the pandemic shut down all live performances in April 2020, the Chaconne is played by 14 different violinists who pass the musical phrases around the world to each other, and to us, the global audience, listening from home, eager to hear sounds of beauty, perseverance, and hope.
And Bach's music delivers.
Search YouTube, and you will find many more versions of this amazing piece recorded by fantastic violinists. You will also find Jazz versions, arrangements for saxophone, flute, cello duo, marimba, and more!
The Daily Dose of Bach for Monday March 15 comes to us again from King Philip Middle School 7th grade violist and dancer, Zuri Freeman. Last week her post sent us to a wonderful recording of Hilary Hahn.
This week Zuri writes:
I created a short presentation on some of Bach's most known pieces.
Zuri has included many of Bach's most iconic instrumental pieces in her presentation. We have seen these works in previous posts of The Daily Dose of Bach this month, but not gathered all in one place under the "Best- known-Bach-pieces" title. Thank you Zuri for bringing them together this way.
The links imbedded in the slides of Zuri's presentation also give us a passport to the world of traditional interpretations of Bach's music. This world of traditional performance, in turn, can inspire endless innovation, some of which we have seen in various posts this month. (tap dance, pop music, improvisation, heavy metal, visual art, and there's more yet to come..)
I encourage everyone to take the time to listen to all the links in Zuri's post as well as the Bach links you have received in previous posts this month. Or save them in a "Bach file" to enjoy over time!
THANK YOU, Zuri for this thoughtful overview of some of Bach's best known instrumental compositions.
This is the start of the last week of Daily Dose of Bach posts as we continue the "countdown to Bach's birthday". You are welcome to join the Viola Tour Group on Saturday March 20 from 9:30-11am for ang culminating Bach Birthday Bash viola recital in which each member of the group, and some invited guests, will perform. More info about Bach's Birthday Weekend performances TBA in upcoming posts!
Also please feel free to send comments! It's been great to hear from some of you, and to receive your ideas and suggestions for links to share!
The Daily Dose of Bach for Sunday March 14 is all about Bach and tap dancing! Who even knew that was a thing?
But it is!
First, check out this "From the Top" video in which award-winning tap dancer Leo Manzari teams up with fantastic 12-year-old pianist Harmony Zhu for a fun performance of the fourth movement, Capriccio, from Bach's Partita No. 2 in C minor BWV 826.
Next, see this video of Canadian violinist Lara St John, and dancer/fiddler Stephanie Cadman dancing and playing their way around the city of Toronto to the Presto movement of Bach's Sonata in g minor BWV 1001
And who would have thought slow, graceful, music would also provide the perfect backdrop for tap? I wouldn't have.... but then I saw this video from Switzerland of Daniel Borat tapping to the elegant Rondeau movement from Bach's Orchestral Suite # 2 BWV 1067.
And finally, the sublime and ethereal "Aria" from Bach's Goldberg Variations BWV 988, seems the most unlikely candidate for tap. But check out this 4-minute video with dancer, Caleb Teicher, improvising to Bach's Goldberg Variations, played by pianist Conrad Tao, also a composer, who recently premiered his new orchestral work, "Everything Must Go" with the New York Philharmonic.
Ready to dance to some Bach now?
Well, maybe you aren't a tap dancer, but if you can keep a beat, you could try this!
Have a wonderful Sunday! Go get your Bach on!
Today's Daily Dose of Bach celebrates Bach's 6 Brandenburg concerti
You can read about them at the Classic FM link below, but if you'd rather just listen to the music, scroll down for links to what I think are the best Brandenburg performances available on YouTube. The performances come from Israel, New York, Philadelphia, Holland, and Japan!
Each of the Brandenburg concerti features a different combination of instruments, with solo instruments taken from each of the main orchestral instrument groups. Please enjoy links to some of my favorite renditions of these amazing works! You may want to save these links to enjoy again and again
So, today we're having a Brandenburg party!
1) Brandenburg concerto no 1 (this is a wonderfully energetic live performance featuring Romanian-Israeli violinist Kati Debretzeni, leader of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment UK, and the students of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv, Israel)
2) Brandenburg concerto no. 2 (The trumpet playing is so glorious in this live performance of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, it just had to be the Brandenburg #2 link included in today's post!)
3) Brandenburg concerto no 3 (couldn't resist including this version with the Paul Simon tune from the Daily Dose post from March 11th!)
4) Brandenburg no 4 (performed by the Tempesta di Mare Baroque orchestra featuring one of our own Hartt faculty members~ Emlyn Ngai, concertmaster, and soloist. This performance comes in two links, the first mvt is on the first link, and the second two movements on the second link)
2nd and 3rd mvts~
5) Brandenburg concerto no 5 (a very spirited interpretation from the Netherlands Bach Society which is currently in the process of recording ALL of Bach's works in a project called of course, "All of Bach")
6)Brandenburg concerto no 6 (nothing is more elegant and beautiful than viola playing under the guidance of viola legend Nobuko Imai. Just the best. The Otaru Masterclass is held annually in Otaru, Japan.)
Today's Daily Dose of Bach comes to us from "Crash Course on Bach" contributor Andrew Zhong, a high school freshman at Farmington High School. (see the Friday March 5th "Daily Dose".)
Inspired by the fact the JS Bach was a master improviser, Andrew offers his own improvisational "take" on one of Bach's most iconic organ pieces, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
The Toccata and Fugue in D minor has emerged in MANY different orchestrations over time. What would Bach think of Andrew's comment that the piece could be viewed as "classic heavy metal"?
What do you think?
Here's an interpretation from Metal guitarist Dan Mumm~
"More Fugue than Toccata in my new arrangement of J.S. Bach's masterpiece Toccata and Fugue in D minor. I did my best to keep all of the counterpoint in tact, while still allowing a main melody line to emerge as the "lead guitar" part. My favorite piece of music since I can remember, and I've always wanted to make my own rock or metal arrangement of it, but wanted to make sure I could do it justice (hence why I've waited all of these years to make it). it was extremely challenging but fun and rewarding to make.
Here is a link to Bach's original composition~
And finally, for a really different spin on this piece, check this out~ the glass harmonica version of Bach's Toccata and fugue in D minor:
THANK YOU, ANDREW for your improvisation and picture of Bach as Baroque Rocker!
Have a Bach- energized day!
The Daily Dose of Bach for Thursday March 11, features a medieval love song by Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612): Mein Gmüth ist mir verwirret ("I'm all mixed up")... (hmmm, come to think of it, those sound like Elvis' lyrics too!)
Bach, as many good composers do, re-purposed the older tune, and we find it in his "Saint Matthew's Passion", a work of epic scope that is in fact the very composition that put Bach on the musical map internationally (thanks to Felix Mendelssohn, who discovered and published the music in the mid 1800's well after Bach's death), and assured that we in 2021 would still be listening to Bach's music, and that even during a pandemic, vocalists would still be finding ways (virtually) to share this music with large audiences.
How different do you think Bach's version sounds from the older tune from which he borrowed?
In the spirit of repurposing, this same tune was made famous in the 1970's by American singer/song writer Paul Simon in his "American Song". Hear the similarity?
Enjoy this tune passed down through the centuries.... where will it go next? Maybe YOU can create a new version
The Daily Dose of Bach for March 10 comes from twins Madison and Michelle Ru who began violin lessons at the Hartt Community Suzuki program in the fall of 2019 just after their 5th birthday.
They have been enjoying watching the older kids' Daily Dose of Bach posts, and since they are working on Bach's music now for the first time (his Minuets in Suzuki book1), the posts have been especially inspiring for them. As a result, they made this video to share.
Madison and Michelle say:
"We like Bach's music!"
What is a Minuet?
The Minuet is a European dance form~ originally an elegant couple dance popular in the aristocratic ballrooms (especially in France and England) in the 17th and early 18th centuries.
Minuets have three beats per measure with the first beat being the strongest. This rhythmic pattern shapes the steps of the dance.
An example of what the Minuet looks like can be found here by two young dancers at a Baroque dance conference. They begin by dancing to another of Bach's minuets. (Minuet 3 in Suzuki book 1.)
See if you can dance along!
The focus on young performers in today's Daily Dose of Bach makes us think about the fact that Bach himself had many children, some of whom followed in his musical footsteps. You can learn more about his many children here:
THANK YOU, Madison and Michelle for sharing your video! Bach would surely like your music too!
Today's Daily Dose of Bach comes from Michael Nardi, a sophomore at Glastonbury High School who plays running back and linebacker for the Jr Varsity football team and the Glastonbury Guardians, and is a new member of the High School Chamber Orchestra. He is a member of the Viola Tour group and Vivace Orchestra at the Hartt Community School where he also studies viola with Melinda Daetsch.
"The first piece I want to share is the Prelude to Cello Suite no 1 in G major performed by Yo-Yo Ma (#cultureconnectsus).
I really like the message at the beginning of this video and feel like Bach’s music helps to bind us together. This is just a really beautiful and calming piece, and the video clearly reflects this through both the images displayed throughout, and the musical line that flows throughout the piece. This is a piece I think is great to listen to when you just want to relax, and Yo-Yo Ma plays it so well.
The second piece I want to share is "Ave Maria" which is a combination of Bach's first Prelude to the Well-Tempered Clavier, and a melody written over 100 years later by French Composer Charles Gounod. Performed by Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott, the piano fits extremely well with the cello~ like an amazing blanket of warm, soothing sound.
The small piano solo in the beginning (the opening measures of Bach's Prelude) especially emphasizes this feeling of calmness and serenity making for a great start to the piece as well as a good intro for the cello. The way that Yo-Yo Ma illustrates Gounod's melody through his cello is just amazing. Kathryn Stott also expresses the piano parts (Bach's music) perfectly and together they bring this piece to a whole other artistic level. This is also a great piece to listen to while relaxing.. it’s just a great piece!
If I ever got the chance to meet Bach in person, I would ask him what inspired him to lead his life the way he did, if he had any regrets in his life, and if he had any pieces he left unfinished or would want to present in this day and age."
Thank you, Michael for sharing a meditative dose of Bach with us today.
May we all experience the serenity of Bach's music ~even amid our busy lives!
The Daily Dose of Bach for Monday March 8th is brought to you by Hall High School freshman Brady Xue, a member of the Viola Tour Group and the Vivace orchestra at the Hartt Community School where he studies viola and piano with faculty members Melinda Daetsch, and Tamila Azadaliyeva. Brady is also a new member of the Camerata orchestra.
I found some nice videos of Bach. One's a violin piece, one's for piano. I enjoyed listening to the pieces. I had heard part of the Goldberg variations before, and I thought of it when I was thinking about choosing music for the "Daily Dose of Bach". I like the piece because it sounds really interesting and complex.
"Aria" from Bach's Goldberg Variations, (the Aria is both the first and last movement)
performed by Sir András Schiff.
The legend surrounding the 'Goldberg Variations', is such a nice one. Count Hermann Karl von Keyserlinck was having trouble sleeping and asked Bach for some pleasant music to pass the time, to be played by Keyserlinck’s harpsichord prodigy Johann Gottlieb Goldberg. Whether it worked as a sleep aide or not is uncertain, but the piece is monumentally epic. (not to mention it is the absolute favorite piece of the "Editor" of the Daily Dose of Bach". In fact, it is her Desert Island Disc.)
Bach: Violin Concerto No.1 In A Minor, BWV 1041: I. Allegro moderato
In Saturday's Daily Dose of Bach we heard the third movement of this same concerto as the musical accompaniment for the Dance Theatre of Harlem's "Dancing Through Harlem".
Now we hear the first movement as performed by Daniel Lozakovich,~at 19 years of age, the youngest musician currently signed to Deutsche Grammophon. On his debut album, he presents Bach’s two Violin Concertos in collaboration with the Kammerorchester des Symphonieorchesters des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the solo Partita No. 2 with the famous Chaconne. (all pieces worthy of a listen when you have time!)
THANK YOU, BRADY for these beautiful Bach selections. There's nothing like starting the week with this music!
Have a wonderful week everyone and keep enjoying Bach!
The Daily Dose of Bach for March 7, 2021 comes today from Hall High School Senior Anna Baker, a member of the Viola Tour group at the Hartt Community School where her viola teachers have included Lee Hadden and Melinda Daetsch. She is also a member of I Giovani Solisti and she will be attending the College of the Holly Cross in the fall.
I wrote a little bit about my experience playing the piece in the description of the video. I recorded this same piece in December 2020 (for a playlist of music that was created in lieu of in-person concerts) but thought I could do even better, so I recorded it again. I really love this piece.
Bach Arioso, Anna Baker, viola (with guitar accompaniment found "by accident" when trying to find a piano accompaniment online in place of being able to meet with a collaborative pianist in person during the pandemic. It turned out to be a very happy accident!!)
If you'd like more background on this piece, Anna is playing a transcription of the first movement of Bach's Cantata no 156 (𝘐𝘤𝘩 𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘩 𝘮𝘪𝘵 𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘮 𝘍𝘶ß 𝘪𝘮 𝘎𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘦,) written in 1729 when Bach was 44 years old. (Click on the link above to read more) To hear how this music might have sounded to Bach's ears, The Academy of Ancient Music performs it here on historical instruments.
THANK YOU, ANNA for sharing your lovely performance of this tender and gentle piece with the Daily Dose. May we all enjoy at least a few moments of peace and reflection today as we listen to Bach,
Today's Daily Dose of Bach was inspired by The Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Though Bach never once travelled beyond the boundaries of his native Germany, his music never stops traveling through chronological time and cultural space, and has been embraced by creative artists of virtually every discipline and background.
His art simply refuses to be constrained by historical context.
Or global pandemic.
Today we will hear Japanese violinist, Takako Nishizaki performing the 3rd mvt (Allegro assai) of Bach's concerto in A minor, BWV 1041 as the soundtrack for "Dancing Through Harlem", a dance created in 2020 for Harlem Week and the African-American Day Parade by Harlem Dance Company Artists Alexandra Hutchinson and Derek Brockington using choreography from Resident Choreographer Robert Garland's ballet "New Bach."
Behold, the music of a man who lived in Germany from 1685-1750, performed by a Japanese woman born just before the end of WWII in 1944, and danced effervescently through the streets of Harlem in August 2020 during a global pandemic.
We all need a daily dose of this kind of music!!
The Daily Dose of Bach for Friday, March 5th "A Crash Course on Bach," Viola Tour Group member Andrew Zhong who, in addition to playing the viola, is also a pianist, improviser, and composer. His teachers at the Hartt Community school include Emmett Drake, Jessica Rudman, Yeeun Cho, Rajan Kapoor, Lee Hadden, and Melinda Daetsch. Andrew is in the 9th grade at Farmington High school.
Our Daily Dose of Bach for March 4, 2021 is brought to us by Germaine Green a senior at the University High School of Science and Engineering. Germaine is a member of the Viola Tour Group, the Vivace orchestra, and a chamber group at the Hartt Community School. He studies the viola with Melinda Daetsch.
“This piece is the partita for violin solo No. 1 in b minor - performed by Hillary Hahn. I like how energetic and bouncy her bowing is, and the sound that she produces.
The first part gives me a positive kind of mood, like a squirrel scurrying around the grass with its babies. Then in the second part the mood starts to get more serious, like the squirrel has lost one of the babies. Then in the next part the squirrel looks all around and almost loses hope until in the last section of the piece the squirrel realizes it left the baby in its nest which goes back to the happy setting and mood of the piece.
If I were ever to get the chance to meet Bach in person, I would ask him what inspires his pieces when he writes.”
Thank you, Germaine for getting our day off to such an energetic start with this exquisitely played Bach Presto!
For more on Hilary Hahn and solo Bach, check out her recordings of the unaccompanied violin sonatas and partitas!She is a real favorite with the members of the Viola Tour Group, even if she's not a violist!!
Our Daily Dose of Bach for March 3, 2021 comes from Zuri Freeman. Zuri is both a violist and a dancer. She is in the 7th grade and joined the Hartt Community School Viola Tour Group in the fall of 2020. Her viola teachers have included Lee Hadden and Melinda Daetsch.
Today Zuri brings us into the world of Bach's unaccompanied works for the cello and the violin. (click on "cello" and "violin" to read more about the 6 Suites for unaccompanied cello and the 6 Sonatas and Partitas for unaccompanied violin)
"For the third day of March I found some performances of Bach pieces that I liked, and thought they sounded really good."
Hilary Hahn plays the 4th movement (Presto) from the Sonata for Violin Solo No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001 by JS Bach
"I find that Bach is appealing to a lot of different audiences. It really hits people at their core in different ways, but it also creates a meditative space. I just feel like I can play it, and it reaches people.” ~Hilary Hahn
Lucia Swarts plays the famous Prelude from Cello Suite no. 1 in G major BWV 1007
This recording was made in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the most famous Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history. The room in which this recording was made, was chosen according to paintings that fitted with the Cello Suite in G major.
Happy March 3rd!!
Thank you Zuri for sharing these profoundly beautiful musical offerings. The performances are completely inspiring!!
Let's all go practice now!
The March 2nd Daily Dose of Bach comes to us from Hartt Community School Viola Tour Group member Stephanie Korkmaz who is a sophomore at Glastonbury High School where performs with the Chamber Orchestra. She participates in the Y2C program Hartt Community School and studies the viola with faculty member Steve Larson.
I found this link about Bach’s influence in art it’s as follows:
I picked this because I remembered how in the beginning of the year we did an activity where we drew an image of how we felt playing the viola. Many of these paintings give off the same energy and I thought it was interesting to see people’s interpretation of different Bach pieces and how some paintings are light while others are dark and all use different techniques.
- Stephanie Korkmaz (She/Her)
Thank you to Stephanie for sharing this beautiful link and for inspiring us to hear Bach's music with our eyes! (be sure to click on the musical links in the article so you hear Bach''s "Art of the Fugue" the inspired the artwork! Here is a direct link also to the great Glenn Gould's recording of the work.
Welcome to the Daily Dose of Bach!
Looking forward to taking this daily journey with you through the month of March sharing some of the limitless joys of Bach's music!