could we just kill bach already?


celloOops. Already dead.

[Sorry about that Bach.]

Okay here is the Bach thing.

Bach was a very talented guy. But he was a very clockwork guy. A very by the numbers guy. Everything he did was about machination.

There is not a lot of passion in machination. It is like Piccasso. It is perspective. Which is all very interesting but I do not think many people grab that clock on the mantel and declare everlasting love.

[Well I hope.]

The absolutely most beautiful instrument I have ever heard in my life was a cello. Played by someone who could really play a cello. Who knew the cello is not an instrument to be sawed at. Or [oh the horror] plucked. [What is up with that plucking thing?] The cello is, when you play it right, your body. Your voice. And in that moment, damn I am blanking for a better word — cellestial.

I went looking on youtube for an example of what I am talking about.

Know what I found? 5,000 people sawing strings doing “Bach.”


*the irony of me bitching about sawing strings when i do not play at all is not lost on me


where the art work comes from :
that is wood by cowe

22 Responses to could we just kill bach already?

  1. Ahhhh… Bach!

    Someone once said that to prove there is intelligent life on Earth we need do nothing more than stream endless Bach into space for all hear.

    Of course you found cellists playing Bach, he wrote what are considered to be the greatest solo cello suites ever composed. Musicians consider them to be the most beautiful music to be played on he most beautiful of instruments.

  2. You’re right about it being the most beautiful of instruments when played by the truly talented cellists. The same can’t be said for, say, the oboe (although there’s nothing wrong with playing an oboe except that whole wetting of the reed thing, which is the most phallic of all symbols I’ve ever seen).

  3. max

    It is not the most beautiful music. It is the most difficult music. It is an agility trial.

  4. Max, I empathize — but don’t you think it depends just a wee bit upon one’s definition of beauty?

    The Bach cello suites are exquisitely beautiful to those who find great beauty in symmetry, organization, and reason. Bach’s music is beautiful in the same way that mathematical equations are beautiful … they reflect a profound order and rightness in the world.

    The Elgar cello concerto, by contrast, is beautiful to those who hear the sobbing and rejoicing voice of the world in the cello. And the Britten cello concerto perhaps appeals to those who hear the cello as the stuttering and confused utterance of lost humanity.

    Beauty is in the ear of the be-listener.

  5. Some famous conductor once got cross with one of his cellists and barked:

    You have between you legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands and all you can do is sit there and scratch it.

    Well, I thought it was funny.

  6. If you play music you have to learn to hear it in your head before you can play it on an instrument.

    With Bach- you have to see it to.

    At least, that’s been my experience.

  7. There is a talented cellist from Eastern Europe who plays in Old Town Alexandria [for those who know the DC burbs] near the Waterfront. When I met him, he was playing Bach.

    I bought two of his CDs. His songs can make me weep.

    I play music, and I play Bach. Not very well, but Bach…well, he’s my favorite.

    Therefore, I will pretend I did not see this post lol

  8. Matt K

    Max, I have a suggestion for you, it’s not cello, shit it’s not even classical, but I’ve an artist you must check out……if you haven’t heard of him already. His name is Andy McKee, he’s got all of his songs on youtube and he’s simply amazing. technically and spiritually, he can play anything and make it sound beautiful.

  9. max

    David, yes, that is true.

    Sol, after hunting all over youtube for cello that is not Bach I so empathise with the conductor.

    Anita, see it as sheet music or envision it as movement?

    Stil, cover your eyes. [wink]

  10. max

    Matt, I will check out Andy McKee. Your return email makes me a little nervous though.

  11. Ok, I’ll cover my eyes, and I’ll be…bach lol

  12. I’d have to see myself playing the piece- it’s an odd trigger but it worked for me.

  13. max

    That is interesting.

  14. I will agree with david as well and I would like to add that it also depends on mood. I can be in the mood for Bach or even etudes by Chopin or Liszt. While some treat them as mere exercises or technical drills, they can be quite engaging, especially the concert etudes of Liszt.

    That said, I am more often in the mood for Debussy or Grieg, of other more emotionally evocative pieces.

    And I think we need to remember that composers to some degree are products of aesthetics of their times.

  15. max

    Wow, Blipey, I have not seen you in an age.

  16. Are you hinting that I might be old? That’s just not nice. But yeah, I thought I might actually work a little bit for a while.

  17. max

    Certainly not. I am implying you have not been around much.

  18. true enough. but now i’m on the road again and it passes the time to participate in a discussion now and again. not that celluloid blonde is only worthwhile when on the road, of course :)

  19. max

    Oh you smooth talker.

  20. californiablogging

    Bach is often comforting to people with autism. I can only deal with that for so long.

  21. gilnor7066

    Even though I’m not a big fan of Bach, I really love how his music (or at least his cello suites) are so ambiguous and open to interpretation.

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