30/12/20 - week 8
I love Bach. After playing lots of his partitas and inventions, I thought it was about time to learn some repertoire more frequently associated with the guitar. Although J.S. Bach wrote BWV 999: The Little Prelude in C Minor for lautenwerck, guitarists have found that it fits more comfortably in D minor. Julian Bream's version is brilliant. Who else woos party guests with a Bach Prelude?!
BWV 999 also served as a technical exercise to get my right hand ready for a session I had last week recording an opera.
Here's my rendition of The Little Prelude on an Alhambra guitar I bought from London Guitar Studio, just off Oxford St. The staff were incredibly helpful - definitely the place to go shopping for classical guitars. The store also has an extensive flamenco department downstairs! I hope you enjoy.
I've started taking classical lessons with Jørgen Skogmo at Guildhall; he's recently released an album of duets with Bendik Lund Haanshus called Korall. The album incorporates short lilting folk melodies, jazz harmony and ambient soundscapes to invent a totally fresh world. The marriage of Bendik's baritone acoustic and Jørgen's nylon string creates a spacious sounding mix. My favourite tune on the album is 'Restarn'.
Austin Kleon talks about sharing the creative process as well as the finished product in his book Show Your Work! His thoughts align with my attitude towards the study of Bach.
For me, practicing Bach is not about mastering the repertoire. It's about accessing parts of the musical mind less frequently exercised in jazz. Considering phrasing, dynamics and tone production in greater detail can only strengthen musicianship. The synergy between classical and jazz practice allows for a balanced musical development. Not to mention it's some of the most beautiful music in the world to explore!