Written by Mrs Bach

Bach’s Six Suites for Solo Cello (BWV 1007-1012) are among the most famous pieces in the canon of Western music. Recent claims by the Australian researcher Martin Jarvis about their authorship have become a media sensation, causing heated scholarly debates in normally restrained musicological circles. Jarvis claims that the Cello Suites were composed not by Johann Sebastian but by his second wife Anna Magdalena.
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Here are some recent superb interpretations of the cello suites by David Watkin

Catching Up with Julian Bream: The Legendary Master Looks Back

Some new insights from Julian Bream, courtesy of the refurbished Classical Guitar Magazine. A fine interview by Thérèse Wassily Saba adapted from the December 2014 issue of Classical Guitar. Julian Bream was in the first ever issue of Classical Guitar in 1982.

Sorry to see that it (Classical Guitar) has left the UK for greener pastures, but happy that it will be invigorated. It has been an old friend!

Gino Paoli with an owl on his guitar

Paoli with owl

Thanks to Retronaut

Paoli was born in Monfalcone, a little town near Trieste, but moved to Genoa at a young age.

After several different jobs, he was signed to Ricordi with friends and fellow musicians Luigi Tenco and Bruno Lauzi. His first success was the single “La Gatta”, which has been used in Italian language teaching classes in American middle schools and high schools.

“Il cielo in una stanza” was composed in 1959. According to Paoli, the lyrics came to him while lying on a brothel bed. Gazing at the purple ceiling, he thought, “Love can grow at any moment at any place”. Mina‘s single release of the song topped the list of annual sales in Italy and reached Billboard Hot 100. Video performances of the song were included in the movies “Io bacio… tu baci” and “Appuntamento a Ischia”. Later it was featured in the “Goodfellas” movie. Carla Bruni Sarkozy covered the song (mixing French with her native Italian) in her debut album (“Quelqu’un m’a dit”).

Gino Paoli’s debut album – Gino Paoli was released in Italy on October 8, 1961 on Dischi Ricordi.

“Il cielo in una stanza” success was followed by “Sapore di sale” (1963), arranged by Ennio Morricone and believed to be his most famous song.

In the same year he attempted suicide by shooting himself in the heart (the bullet is still inside his chest).

Gino Paoli live

La Gatta

Morricone/Paoli concert

All of Bach for Free!

All of Bach for Free! New Site Will Put Performances of 1080 Bach Compositions Online

Bach 1st Harpsichord Concerto

Probably quite old news now, but worth mentioning again. Thanks to Open Culture
I wonder who will perform the lute music?

Bach wrote 1080 compositions during his lifetime. And now thanks to the new and certainly ambitious All of Bach web site, you can eventually watch the Netherlands Bach Society (founded in 1921) perform each and every one of those compositions.

By the way, that opening piece on the video is an interesting organ transcription of a  cantata Sinfonia (Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal, BWV 146) based on the D minor keyboard concerto BWV 1052 which is probably in turn a transcription of a lost violin concerto and which I transcribed for a Naxos recording

Long-lost opera by Spanish composer Enrique Granados located

Here is an interesting story:
Granados, born in 1867, composed “Maria del Carmen” in 1898, the year Spain and the United States went to war. It premiered in Madrid to such acclaim that Queen Maria Cristina awarded Granados the Charles III Cross for his work. The opera — a love triangle set in a Spanish village in the region of Murcia — was later revised for subsequent productions, but was never performed in its original version again.

In 1938, one of Granados’ sons sold the original opera to a prominent New York musician and publisher for $300 to raise money for the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War. Other family members wanted it returned. The question of ownership remained the subject of litigation for decades until 1970 when the opera was reported destroyed in a warehouse fire in New York.

Walter Clark, professor of music and director of The Center for Iberian and Latin American Music at the University of California, Riverside, who came upon the opera while researching material for his biography, “Enrique Granados, Poet of the Piano” , was obsessed by it for years. After wondering if it was really destroyed contacted the grandson of the man who had purchased ‘Maria’ and finally found it. Clark, incidentally, is a guitarist who plays Granados on the guitar.

“No one has heard this performed since 1899,” Clark said. “It is being published now by Tritó, the same company that will record it. It will be performed in various places in Spain next year, and I will be there. This is a 20-year detective story with a happy ending.”

Marcel Proust playing air guitar

c.1892: Marcel Proust playing air guitar on a tennis racket


Thanks to Retronaut

There is no record that Proust ever played the guitar, but the literary savant probably played tennis.

Actually Marcel Proust drew freely from musical works in order to cross-breed and transcribe them into novels – he uses music to transport the reader into various access points of memory, and writes in a very musical manner, cross-referencing themes, moving back and forth through time.

Vinteuil is the fictitious composer to whom Proust refers throughout À la recherche du temps perdu. But we know that it was in fact the amalgam of several composers who deeply influenced and affected the writer.

Composer Jorge Arriagad attempted to realise Vinteuil’s violin sonata for this scene in Raoul Ruiz’s 1999 film Le Temps retrouvé (Time Regained), which takes its title from the final book of À la recherche du temps perdu, but dips liberally into the entire novel. This scene replicates the kind of private salon gathering at which Vinteuil’s music would have been performed in the world of Proust’s novel.




The Song of the Sirens


It is easy to forget that the great epics of classical Greek poetry were originally sung. Since the 16th century, scholars have been trying to reconstruct the songs of Sappho, Sophocles, Euripides and Homer from their signature poems.
Now research carried out by Armand d’Angour at Oxford University is bringing us several steps closer to hearing how this ancient music sounded.

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The fleas that tease

Do you remember an Inn,

Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?

So begins Hilaire Belloc’s mysterious mini-epic, Tarantella.

This is a justifiably famous poem from the person who penned Cautionary Tales for Children. He was known as a writer, orator, poet, sailor, satirist, man of letters, soldier and political activist. Originally French, he became a naturalised British subject in 1922, and was President of the Oxford Union and later MP for Salford from 1906 to 1910.

He was famous for his vigorously disputative nature and running feuds with various other strong minded personalities. H.G.Wells remarked that “Debating Mr. Belloc is like arguing with a hailstorm“.

What is less well known is that he actually wrote a bit of music and sang to his poems, including Tarantella.

I was naturally excited to see the following instruction on the top of the page, which was presented to me by Pam Spooner, one of Betty Roe’s singing students (at the age of 85!) and the possessor of a fine high soprano voice.

Miranda clip

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