During this election season, we’ve heard a lot about stamina and the endurance needed in a presidential candidate. Stamina and endurance are definitely what I need to get through my Bach concert next week! Especially when you consider all those thousands of sixteenth notes that I’ll be playing, I keep thinking of that famous quip in the movie, “Amadeus” —Too many notes!
Today my colleague from Maui, Clayton Logue, came to Oahu for the day and after having breakfast together, we drove to the church where I played my Bach Clavierübung recital for him. Although it was not a totally error-free performance, I was glad that the three most treacherous pieces (Allein Gott in der Höh’ sei Ehr, Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, and Jesus Christus, unser Heiland) and even the terribly complicated Vater unser im Himmelreich, were for the most part “on the money.”
This was a good test for me, because I had no “warm-up” before sitting down to play the recital—I just hit it “cold.” I have learned over all these years that I do myself a disservice if I try to play through completely any of my pieces on the day of a concert. What happens is that if I happen to make a mistake during the warmup, I get a complex about it and try to “fix” it quickly before the concert. Then during the actual concert, I come to that section and worry about what is going to happen.
I am glad to report that I didn’t fall apart today, and judging by Clay’s reaction, he was indeed moved by the music. That’s what Bach will do to you!
Here’s what conductor Emmanuelle Heim said about the music of Bach:
I love Bach’s music because it is so comforting. To me, it feels as if I’m coming back home whenever I play Bach. It feels so naturally written and genuine. There are hidden elements in Bach; for musicians it is very knowledgeable music, but what comes out of it is more of a spontaneity of expression. You can listen to Bach from many points of view: you can admire the science of it, the incredible intelligence of it, but even if you don’t have any musical training or knowledge, you can still enjoy it for the incredible spontaneous life of the melody. It is very well worked out, but it seems almost as if it was written as it went along. Bach is definitely someone with whom I love spending time, and try to do so as much as I can.
I am looking forward to sharing this music with you!