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The White Hat Guide to

Johann Sebastian Bach

J. S. Bach

1685 - 1750

J S Bach

Widely regarded by many as the greatest composer who ever lived.


J. S. Bach is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers who ever lived yet was only held in moderate esteem by much of the musical establishment in his lifetime. True, he was regarded as a prodigious organist and if your church had commissioned a new organ then Bach was the man to come and put it through its paces and probably make recommendations about how it could be improved. Like most composers of the time he was a skilled improviser but there is a difference between improvising an atmospheric fantasia and improvising a tightly constructed fugue. Most could do the former but Bach could do both. Most composers of the time recognised Bach for his technical skills as a writer of music but relatively few recognised his towering status as a composer. One of those who did not fully recognise the full extent of his genius was Bach himself. He would probably recognise himself as skilled at his craft as a composer and as someone who paid great attention to detail and structure, but to think that he would be recognised by many in coming generations as the greatest composer of all time probably never entered his head. He was too busy composing for this week's church service and for the glory of God.

Some forthcoming Australian concerts and performances featuring the music of Bach:

Arvo Pärt & JS Bach

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

 The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir with the  Australian Chamber Orchestra (Richard Tognetti director) perform:

White Hat strongly recommends that anyone interested in choral music (or classical music in general) should go out of their way to hear this excellent programme. The world-renowned Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir together with the  Australian Chamber Orchestra alternate the mystical minimalism of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt with the intricate and muscular polyphony of Bach's motets. Combing these two world's is Pärt's Toccata for strings from his Collage on B-A-C-H. The programme is rounded up with an offering form contemporary Estonian composer Galina Grigorjeva and Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe's Djilile, inspired by Indigenous song.

Our rating - 5 Hats

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Sydney – City Recital Hall Saturday 2 February 7pm
Sydney Opera House Sunday 3 February 2pm
Sydney – City Recital Halll Tuesday 5 February 8pm
Sydney – City Recital Hall Wednesday 6 February 7pm
Canberra – Llewellyn Hall Saturday 9 February 8pm
Melbourne – Arts Centre Melbourne Sunday 10 February 2:30pm
Melbourne – Arts Centre Melbourne Monday 11 February 7:30pm
Adelaide Town Hall Tuesday 12 February 7:30pm
Perth Concert Hall Wednesday 13 February 7:30pm



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Selected Sheet Music by Bach

17266346 look inside The Complete Cantatas (Samtliche Kantaten, Chorale und Motetten). Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). This edition: Paperback, Urtext edition. Paperback. Barenreiter Study scores. Study scores in a sturdy box for shipping. 19 volumes with more than 11,000 pages. Sacred. Study score, Anthology. 11204 pages. Published by Baerenreiter Verlag (BA.TP2004).
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