bronxbob350 (bronxbob350) wrote,

Last night we went to hear all six of the Brandenburg concerti and the experience led me to realize a few things. Everyone knows the Brandenburg concerti but you haven't enjoyed them fully until you seen them performed. I've never heard anyone say this but I'm sure that Bach was doing something visual as well as something audible with these works. Until the 20th century of course you couldn't have heard them without also seeing them and I believe that, being the great artist that he was, Bach made the viewing of these works a part of the creation. If you listen to a recording you'll hear that, for instance, in #3 a phrase is repeated three times by the violins, three times by the violas and three times by the cellos. You may realize that each repeat is done by a different player but it's not until you see the music march actoss the stage to each of the nine musicians that you get a full appreciation of the way the music is traded, intertwined and balanced between the players. It's a kinetic as well as audio experience that verges on the esthetic of the dance. All the more so since musicians cannot play like statues. Their bodies are a part of their performance and that is particularly true of this music with it's emphatic rhythms in the fast parts and langurous or mournful movement through the slow parts. You haven't heard the Brandenburgs until you've seen them.

There's another thing I realized last night: Really good music is like really good sex. I don't mean that music is sexy (it certainly can be), I mean that it can be structured like good sex. Constantly varied but always coming back to the same strong theme, building but pausing before finishing so that it can do another variation--satisfying while being tantalizing and finally coming to a fulfilling but regretful end. The perfect illustration of what I'm trying to say is the last movement of Brandenburg #6. It's exactly what I'm trying to expresss.

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