The second monthly video from Lewis Kaplan, the Festival Director of the Bach Virtuosi Festival.
How Did Bach Evolve?
This is a rather interesting story. He came from a couple of hundred years of generations of musicians. His brother, his parents, grandparents, all were musicians. Bach was the culmination, the apex, the height of the Baroque period. And he was able to assimilate the music of the best composers that came before him. He had a voracious appetite to find out what other composers were doing, what other performers were doing. On the other hand he was strong influenced by the Italian composers, Corelli and Vivaldi. Transcribing a number of Vivaldi’s concertos for instruments in North Germany.
The performance of Bach has changed and evolved very much in the last 40 or 50 years. I think a lot of the credit for this goes to the research and the formation of groups of so called “ancient instruments”, a more authentic performance of Bach and the music of the Baroque. And this of course leads to a very interesting question; there was no piano in Bach’s time. Should Bach, the keyboard, only be performed on a harpsichord? I don’t think so. And there are artists such as Glenn Gould who certainly make a very great case for performing Bach on modern instruments. So I think that whether Bach is performed on a modern instrument or the replica of a Baroque instrument, his music is so powerful that if one knows what to look for in the music of Bach, then it transcends all time and all instruments.