I remember with pleasure the first readings which Rachel and I made of Bach’s Sonatas. As we explored the challenges of his three-part contrapuntal writing, and the sonorities of movements with more chordal or arpeggiated keyboard parts, we submitted ourselves to Bach’s schooling. Musical architecture, tempo, sonority and balance, phrasing and articulation became points of discussion. Much of the learning lay in the development of a shared musical language which goes beyond words. Those days with Bach laid the foundation for our subsequent chamber music playing and our work within The English Concert. As musicians we eventually come to accept that we can never fully understand the music of Bach. At times we are so in awe of Bach the composer that we lose sight of the man who performed with musicians such as ourselves. Bach, the flamboyant performer, freely arranged and adapted music and was ever willing to upset the compositional balance of his Fifth Brandenburg Concerto for the sake of including the inspired solo cadenza….Download booklet
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