JS Bach: C/D, S/D, RFD

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I'm still getting into him but when I listen to or play something by him, I get this certain quality of peace and clarity I have trouble explaining. Everything just seems perfect. I'm listening to the Brandenburg Concertos now.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Sunday, 5 January 2003 21:32 (sixteen years ago) link

huuuuuuuuge topic, maaaaaaan
S: Classical Music On CD:The Rough Guide
(in case you haven't got it already)

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Sunday, 5 January 2003 21:42 (sixteen years ago) link


I listen to JSB a lot less these days than in the past, but I still love this music. A huge topic, as t\'\'t says, but I'll still list some personal favorites:

Solo cello suites
These have been nicely transcribed for guitar, too, which you might enjoy playing or listening to...

Sonatas for cello and piano
(Well, gamba and fortepiano, I suppose, but I tend to like performances on modern instruments.) There are three of these; they're not so well known but are among Bach's most beautiful, intimate works. The first, in G Major, is my favorite.

Well-Tempered Clavier
I prefer these on modern piano rather than instruments of JSB's own time. And I prefer this set of pieces, plus the dance suites and the Goldberg Variations, over keyboard performances of the more "abstract" stuff like A Musical Offering and The Art of the Fugue. Bach may have been regarded as old fashioned by the younger generation of his time, but he was a master at assimilating the sounds and styles around him, and this quality shines through less in the abstract work, with no loss of the "peace and clarity" you love.

St Matthew Passion
Huge forces in this one: three choirs, multiple vocal soloists, orchestra with numerous instruments in solo roles. The long stretches of recitative (speech-like song, often with very spare accompaniment) may be an obstacle to liking this; but I don't mind it even though I don't understand the German. Also, it's quite long (spanning 3 CDs). I'd especially recommend the recording directed by Philippe Herreweghe; it features the honey-voiced baritone soloist Peter Kooy singing my favorite aria ("Mache dich, mein Herze...")

Paul in Santa Cruz, Sunday, 5 January 2003 22:12 (sixteen years ago) link

A classical dilettante offers more shouts for Well-Tempered Clavier and the Goldberg Variations.

I'm told he plays too fast, and some find his humming a drag, but I love Glenn Gould's recordings of these. A regular favourite on a Sunday morning.

stevo (stevo), Sunday, 5 January 2003 22:20 (sixteen years ago) link

was a short period when i listened to Gould's (his later one) and Jarrett's recordings of Goldberg Variations back to back, and i still don't prefer one to the other -- must be due to *my* dilettantism, i sure

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Sunday, 5 January 2003 22:29 (sixteen years ago) link

Search: the unaccompanied cello suites, the Brandenburgs, the Art of the Fugue, the Two- and Three-Part Inventions.

Destroy: a lot of the vocal music--he kept forgetting that humans need to breathe.

Douglas (Douglas), Sunday, 5 January 2003 22:38 (sixteen years ago) link

Paul is right: search, search, SEARCH St. Matthew's Passion. Phenomenal. Those cello suites Douglas mentions are also quite incredible. Also search learning how to play Bach, which is the best musical education I know.

J0hn Darn13ll3 (J0hn Darn13ll3), Sunday, 5 January 2003 22:46 (sixteen years ago) link

I love the cello suites! I have Fournier's recordings on Duetsche Grammophon and they sound amazing.

Aaron Grossman (aajjgg), Sunday, 5 January 2003 23:20 (sixteen years ago) link

There's a really scary great version of the cello suites on Winter & Winter, which is a generally grebt label besides

J0hn Darn13ll3 (J0hn Darn13ll3), Sunday, 5 January 2003 23:30 (sixteen years ago) link

Winter & Winter - absolutely fabulous label, no fkn doubt! that Uri Caine's version of Goldbergs that W&W put out is not everybody's cup of classical, is everybody's own business
(i'd recommend you give it a try, sundar)

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Sunday, 5 January 2003 23:42 (sixteen years ago) link

Search: The MOTETS. Especially "Jesu, meine Freude" and "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied".

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Sunday, 5 January 2003 23:48 (sixteen years ago) link

the unaccompanied cello suites are some of my favorite classical.

some of the more common stuff--brandenburgs, well tempered klavier...it just seems like cliched baroque to me. but that's probably from way too much playing/listening to them.

JuliaA (j_bdules), Monday, 6 January 2003 04:10 (sixteen years ago) link

Yet another vote for the cello suites, WTC.
You've already got the Brandenburgs.
See also B-minor Mass, Magnificat

dleone (dleone), Monday, 6 January 2003 04:18 (sixteen years ago) link


Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Monday, 6 January 2003 04:55 (sixteen years ago) link

The piece I've been working on when sick of Ginastera is the prelude from Suite In G Major for Solo Violoncello (transcribed for guitar).

sundar subramanian (sundar), Monday, 6 January 2003 06:20 (sixteen years ago) link

what Dan said abt the Motets

which recording of the Brandenburgs were you listening too, Sundar? More (I think) than any other composer, wildly differing interpretations are the norm for JSB on record.

Jeff W, Monday, 6 January 2003 10:44 (sixteen years ago) link

I have two Bach albums ... one played on xylophone presets for Babies, but my favorite has to be Les Swingles Singers : Jazz Sebastian Bach.

Wonderful bossa-nova flavoured vocal arrangements of the classics.

phil jones (interstar), Monday, 6 January 2003 12:51 (sixteen years ago) link

I was listening to a recording by the LA Chamber Orchestra conducted by Gerard Schwartz (Capitol, 1980). I'm currently listening to a record of the violin concertos and double concerto by Yehudi Menuhin with Christian Ferras with the Menuhin Festival Chamber Orchestra and the Robert Masters Chamber Orchestra. I also have the Clavierubung pt 3 (1st record) by Ralph Downes on the Royal Festival Hall organ as well as a "Festival of Hits" record from 1969.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Wednesday, 8 January 2003 03:44 (sixteen years ago) link

the other evening i was wondering why i strangely had the bach double concerto in my head all of a sudden...then remembered that i'd been reading this thread. it's great fun to play, but something you actually have to practice. sigh.

JuliaA (j_bdules), Wednesday, 8 January 2003 04:28 (sixteen years ago) link

Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin
Two Part Inventions (WAY better than Three Parts)
Also search hearing the great organ pieces in a church with a big pipe organ - home stereo can never do them justice.

Curt (cgould), Wednesday, 8 January 2003 05:11 (sixteen years ago) link

Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin - I meant to add: Nathan Milstein's Deutche Grammaphon recording from the 70s is incredibly virtuosic.

Curt (cgould), Wednesday, 8 January 2003 05:17 (sixteen years ago) link

Let us not forget The Coffee Cantata. Probably the best artistic defense for caffeine ever.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 8 January 2003 06:13 (sixteen years ago) link

Toccata in D minor is loads of fun to play on a pipe organ. I feel like some kind of creepy phantom who snuck into the church late at night just to play it the disapear into the shadows afterwards.

A Nairn (moretap), Wednesday, 8 January 2003 06:21 (sixteen years ago) link

Search: Partitas for keyboard, too.

Amateurist (amateurist), Wednesday, 8 January 2003 06:47 (sixteen years ago) link

what dan said!

someone should start a bach two-part inventions: s/d thread

geeta (geeta), Wednesday, 8 January 2003 07:17 (sixteen years ago) link

Hmmm... Am I really going to be the first person to mention the whole "Switched On..." phenom? Probably not the best way to get into JSB, but really fun stuff.

flightsatdusk (flightsatdusk), Wednesday, 8 January 2003 07:24 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh god, "switched on," the throat needed to be cleared before it could utter anything of interest I suppose.

Amateurist (amateurist), Wednesday, 8 January 2003 07:40 (sixteen years ago) link

Did I kill this thread? Sheesh. Why dontcha all go back to discussing the merits/failings of Gould and Rostopovich, then. Snobs. :P

flightsatdusk (flightsatdusk), Wednesday, 8 January 2003 22:17 (sixteen years ago) link

I guess I meant "Switched On" may have some significance in the history of electronic music but as far as Bach is concerned.....

Amateurist (amateurist), Thursday, 9 January 2003 05:44 (sixteen years ago) link

Everything that I've heard by Bach has been at least good, and I've only skimmed the surface of his voluminous output. Is he the greatest composer who ever lived? Maybe so. Particular stand-outs: "St. Matthew Passion", "Goldberg Variations", "Two and Three-Part Inventions", "Cantatas" (don't have the specific ones in front of me, but they're probably all good, right?), "Air on the G String".

o. nate (onate), Thursday, 9 January 2003 16:07 (sixteen years ago) link

I LOVE "Air on the G String"!!!! Not only is it beautiful, but it has the BEST NAME IN CLASSICAL MUSIC.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Thursday, 9 January 2003 16:11 (sixteen years ago) link

Depends on the original German title, surely. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 9 January 2003 22:43 (sixteen years ago) link

two years pass...
okay, i want some of Bach's organ work, specifically pieces with a massive enough sound to remind you of the Power Of God. That kinda thing.

Any suggestions?

kingfish completely hatstand (Kingfish), Tuesday, 16 August 2005 04:02 (fourteen years ago) link

The famous Tocatta and Fugue is the one you probably will recognize most immediately

Hurting (Hurting), Tuesday, 16 August 2005 04:07 (fourteen years ago) link

well, yeah, that's the obvious one, but it's also the one most associate with Phantom of the Opera and bargain-basement "Halloween Soundz" tapes that the neighbor lady liked to play every year.

kingfish completely hatstand (Kingfish), Tuesday, 16 August 2005 05:15 (fourteen years ago) link

Heh heh...it always makes me think of "Rollerball" with James Caan!

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Tuesday, 16 August 2005 05:30 (fourteen years ago) link

four months pass...
Really getting into "The Art of the Fugue".

(Radio 3 is playing the complete works of Bach until xmas day, btw - shd tune in sometime.)

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Saturday, 17 December 2005 11:09 (thirteen years ago) link

two years pass...

Non-stop Bach til 2AM New Years, y'all. They're doing a bunch of Glen Gould right now.


Hurting 2, Saturday, 29 December 2007 16:15 (eleven years ago) link

Not like it's historically correct or anything, but this is a marvellous album anyway:

Geir Hongro, Saturday, 29 December 2007 17:40 (eleven years ago) link

ike turner invented classical music when his harpsichord fell off the back of the car they were driving to a show in st. louis.

M@tt He1ges0n, Saturday, 29 December 2007 18:04 (eleven years ago) link

You don't say?

The Reverend, Saturday, 29 December 2007 18:06 (eleven years ago) link

The random notes played when it occured were probably a big influence on Schönberg and Stravinsky.

Geir Hongro, Saturday, 29 December 2007 19:49 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

seeing st. matthew passion tonight...

Surmounter, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 19:35 (ten years ago) link

eight months pass...

Obsessed with this choral prelude after watching Solaris:


pithfork (Hurting 2), Monday, 11 January 2010 06:38 (nine years ago) link

two years pass...

It's that time of year


Johnny Hotcox, Sunday, 23 December 2012 16:47 (six years ago) link

ten months pass...

I've been digging into Bach lately, and while I have a pretty good idea where to go with his vocal and solo instrument work, I'd love to hear recommendations on his chamber and orchestral music. I'm only familiar with the Brandenburg Concertos (and "Air on the G String", of course), and I'd want to hear more stuff like that. Preferably on period instruments, as I love them recorders and harpsichords! Which recordings would you folks recommend?

Tuomas, Tuesday, 29 October 2013 12:31 (five years ago) link

for historically informed/period instrument performances search: gustav leonhardt, konrad junghänel, rene jacobs, reinhard goebel

rachel podger's recordings of the sonatas and partitas for violin (on an original instrument iirc) are incredible.

clouds, Tuesday, 29 October 2013 14:02 (five years ago) link

five years pass...

six sonatas for violin and harpsichord :)

flopson, Wednesday, 15 May 2019 20:09 (three months ago) link

welt gute nacht baroque German doo wop

flopson, Monday, 27 May 2019 04:48 (two months ago) link

Which recording flops?

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 27 May 2019 14:44 (two months ago) link

which recording slaps?

j., Monday, 27 May 2019 15:51 (two months ago) link

Slap That Bassch

TS The Students vs. The Regents (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 27 May 2019 15:53 (two months ago) link

This slaps:


pomenitul, Monday, 27 May 2019 16:03 (two months ago) link

lol violinists really love playing that peace in palatial, echoey rooms

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 27 May 2019 16:15 (two months ago) link


longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 27 May 2019 16:15 (two months ago) link

Slaps less (flops more) than the Kremer performance imho.

pomenitul, Monday, 27 May 2019 16:16 (two months ago) link

Slaps less but still v nice imo

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 27 May 2019 16:27 (two months ago) link

Which recording flops?

― longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, May 27, 2019 10:44 AM (seven hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Conductor: John Elliot Gardiner
Ensemble: English Baroque Soloists

flopson, Monday, 27 May 2019 22:17 (two months ago) link

Enjoying the Six Partitas, with Lucy Carolan on harpsichord.

Apparently JSB considered this stuff his commercial crowd-pleasing material and didn't rate it, but I like it... particularly Partitas #1 and #3

Josefa, Tuesday, 28 May 2019 00:57 (two months ago) link

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