Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to Bach

Despite the cliched title, I am finally going back to Bach. That's the one thing that's getting me through the school year.

It's going to be a year full of Bach, which excites me to no end. You probably already know this about me, but if I have one obsession (besides Woody Allen movies), it's the sacred music of J.S. Bach. I remember two years ago I took a Baroque history class, and I read an article about the Universality of Bach. I didn't agree with a lot of the points made, but I felt a little changed for the better when I read that Bach appears to be to be such a universal composer (i.e. his musical ideas stimulate similar thoughts in different generations and cultures) because he firmly rooted himself in the ancient traditions of the church and functional harmony and whatnot, but at the same time really fervently explored new musical territory. Thus, this Janus-like position helped him define and era and also pave the way for a new one. And while Beethoven can also be said to have done the same thing, I much prefer Bach for his exquisite vocal writing which conveys so much sacred passion.

I am trying to put together Cantata 199 for my recital this fall. This cantata is for solo soprano with obbligato oboe lines. This morning I was stressing out pretty hardcore about the idea of trying to present this work with just a month or so of rehearsals, when I found this phenomenal video on youtube.

"Tief gebuckt" is the second aria in the work. Although it's not the most outwardly beautiful piece in the cantata, it's easily my favorite because the text and music are so humbling. Usually I have trouble paying attention to music--I often get to carried away in aurally recognizing patterns of intervals and dumb stuff like that. But when I found this clip my attention was on it the entire time it was playing. In fact, I tried to start this blog entry while listening, but my attention kept going back to the music... You know, I've got to admit by the end of her performance I was agitated with excitement and eager to test my chops at it as well. Why is she so good and so riviting?! AGH!

And in addition to the cantata, my year is full of the B Minor Mass. I get to do it twice. The first is with Pro Arte here at IU. But the second (April 23) I'm MUCH more excited about, because it's a professional gig with Dr. Crabb, and I'm the soloist! And on top of that, I get to sing with some of my favorite singers (Stephen Swanson and Steven Spears, even Emily Bennett!). It really makes me feel like a kid to be singing with those guys, but at the same time I feel like this is the beginning of my non-collegiate, adult career. How scary is THAT? I think I'm lucky that I get to sing the Agnus Dei--what a fantastic piece of music!

Interesting tidbit: my friend Koji used to be an apprentice under Masaaki Suzuki and still visits him for advice. How weird and cool is that?

Anyways, I'm so excited to be getting back in the game of Bach! Was talking with Frank last night about how it was strange that my resume only has music jobs on it--those are the only jobs I've ever had! I feel like I live in a different world than most people...


Fodoz said...

lindsey, i am so effing excited that you are singing the b minor. yesssss! oh my gosh. i think you are a fabulous musician and can't wait for you to come to MU next semester. i can't wait to hear you! wish i could be there for this recital!

Fodoz said...

oh, and also, i was thinking a few minutes ago, "i really wanna listen to the b minor mass." so i put it on and then thought i'd peruse blog-world, and turns out you wrote this! brilliant.

sloth-knits said...

I'm so jealous! 199 is gorgeous. I did the opening recit for a masterclass last week. It probably would have been more productive to do something Italian but oh well.

Lindsey412 said...

OMG Thanks Kaitlin for the amazing comments! I REALLY appreciate it :)

And Erika--the opening recit is pretty much amazing. Italian recits are dumb, and I'm glad you did Bach ;)