Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bach for more

So... last night i began learning what is titled "Suite 1" in Schirmer's 6 Suites for ViolinCello by J.S. Bach (transcribed by F. Gaillard). i noticed two things immediately. First, largely due to the limitations on my ability to read music, i have to work on about 8 bar chunks. Thus i would play through the first 8 bars then go back to the beginning. i was astounded by how far we had come in 8 bars. The changes are so smoothe and so fluid and so completely and utterly acceptable, and yet by bar 8 we are in a totally different place than we were in bar 1. i was aware of being in the presence of a "Mind" that was able to enscribe a path of fluid, melifluous notions that was something on the order of the transformation of the pollywog to the frog (in one life) or the dinosaur to the bird (across many lives) while making it all seem effortless and natural.

The other thing i noticed was that the piece was a love song. But, as i tried to explore this feeling i was unable to orient myself to who was the lover and who the beloved until i realized that this was a love song to god. Of all the earthly falling in loves the one it reminds me of most is the falling in love with your newborn. There's this magical moment when you hold your child in your hand that you become utterly aware that you are falling in love; and yet, it's not like falling in love with a sexual partner or an intellectual partner or an emotional partner; it's free-er and yet more deeply binding. Maybe it's my four turns around that corner that helped me recognize this other kind of love song... Either way, as i played through those first 8 bars, i found myself remembering the importance of first steps. You only get one shot at the first kiss, you know. There's never another first kiss with this lover. So it's important to be as present as possible for that moment.

But, having stumbled through those first 8 bars, i know i'll be Bach for more ;-)


Blogger fields001 said...

Suite 1 is also a standard dance party. When casting about for the correct tempo, find somebody to teach you to dance the Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Minuet, and Gigue (Jig). Your feet will tell you the tempo. Think of the prelude as a 3-part chorale rhythmicized across the instrument.
The original lies fairly easily on cello strings tuned a fifth apart--for a sense of the original, I much recommend Anner Bylsma's performance over, say, Yoyo Ma's.

12:44 PM  

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