31/03/2016

Two interpretations of Bach's "Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme" - Observation on good technique

The first interpretation has been made only a few days ago. The camera zooms in on the hands and shows how the fingers always remain in contact with the keys, also with trills. At the same time the wrist is relaxed and allows for movements in all directions. In this way one can play for hours without getting tired.


The second interpretation was made in 2014 and is slower. 


26/03/2016

Olivier Messiaen - Les enfants de Dieu (from: La Nativité du Seigneur)

I find this one of Messiaen's most exciting -and towards the end most quiet- pieces. In his Technique de mon language musical, Messiaen compares his way of composing this piece to the central section of a sonata form, where exposed material is developed.


23/03/2016

J.S. Bach - O Mensch, bewein' dein' Sünde gross BWV 622


Associating Herzlich tut mich verlangen in the previous post with something precious and intimate,
O Mensch, bewein' dein' Sünde gross on the contrary made me think of grandeur, in particular a summit of spiritual grandeur. Then, of course, I try to manifest that in the performance.


21/03/2016

J.S. Bach: Herzlich tut mich verlangen BWV 727- beautiful organs in small protestant churches in Dutch villages

When I played the organ in actor Henk van Ulsen's performances Job, Prediker and Psalmen in the '90s, we would often visit small protestant churches in villages or small towns. And more often than not —as we were in Holland— there would be organs of high quality. This created an atmosphere of something intimate and precious, of which I have good memories. While recording Bach's small organ prelude Herzlich tut mich verlangen on Hauptwerk, I had to think of this.


14/03/2016

J.S. Bach - Wer nun den lieben Gott lässt walten BWV 647 - "contrapuntal phrasing"

In addition to "multiple articulation" (see a previous blog post) one might speak of "contrapuntal phrasing" as a means of further refining and deepening the interpretation, in this case concerning
Wer nun den lieben Gott lässt walten.



10/03/2016

J.S. Bach - Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn BWV 648 - "multiple articulation"

In this interpretation I very consciously applied the principle of "multiple articulation", a term invented by myself. It implies a varied articulation for each voice separately.


06/03/2016

Comparing Messiaen's "Jésus accepte la souffrance" to medieval painting and allegories

At the time, this piece showed an innovative use of timbres: a very low reed alternating with strings. Towards the end, the act of Jesus accepting the Sufferance is depicted by smarting dissonants resolving into a radiant major triad. As always, Messiaen is very straight-forward in his depiction of evil and suffering on the hand and good and glory on the other, like in medieval art and allegories.




03/03/2016

New insight regarding spirituality in music

While practising Bach's Wer nun den lieben Gott lässt walten I got a new insight regarding my observation on craftsmanship, artistry and spirituality in blog post dd. February 8, 2016.

In the domain of artistry it is still sufficient to play the role which the music imposes, with all the tools that craftsmanship provided you with. However, the domain of spirituality asks for a higher level of identification: not playing, but being the expression.

A few weeks ago I saw a very interesting documentary about Maria Callas. She probably identified her self so much with, for instance, Norma, that she became Norma at a certain moment, in stead of acting the role.