Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bernstein on Bach

You can't really ever have too much Bach in your life, as far as I can tell.

This is part of his Omnibus Series, which was on TV in the 50s. Really really good TV. I think that at least some of those shows will be available on DVD later this year. Or, of course, you can just go to this guy's YouTube page and watch them right now...

Love this stuff. It reminded me of an ensemble I was part of at one point, where the conductor was telling the story of the Voyager Space Capsule that was loaded with sonic artifacts from around the world. The way he told it, the project involved a lot of international vying for hand ("put our guy in their" kind of thing) and a particularly 1970s-ish effort at multicultural sensitivity (not that there's anything wrong with Pygmy songs, Navajo chant, or meditative brain waves, but I do think that their inclusion tells us something about the time in which that probe was launched.) Amidst all those debates and deliberations, there came one voice of agreement from all nations: "Well, of course we're going to put Bach on that record." It was unanimous - it would be unthinkable not to include it in the representation of humanity being sent to worlds beyond. It was, as the best music usually seems to be, inevitable.

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