I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Arranging and Arranged Bach

Hypen Press Music 001: The Bach Players

We know Mozart liked Bach’s music, especially this fugues and ability with counterpoint. The opening of this recording is a peresentation of 5 Bach fugues arranged by Mozart and performed by string quartet. The last four tracks are more Bach fugues, arranged by the ensemble.

The big draw, however, is a recording of BWV 1083, Bach’s arrangement of Pergolesi’s Stabat mater with a new text.

(What?! Right. Was news to me, too.)

Bach learned in a very bookish way, by copying the work of others and even arranging it. Either for a pragmatic application or pure study, I am not sure we know.

Hearing this familiar piece with different words/text is striking. Pergolesi’s life was short and this piece was his most celebrated legacy. If performed by Bach, it would have been of interest to a German audience. It sounds nothing like Bach, but the writing is clear enough that would have been interesting to gauge reactions for those familiar with Bach’s style.

The polish of the “Bach Players”, along with the recording, isn’t as clean as some recordings. But there’s a rawness to their sound and the acoustic that I find attractive. They perform with 1 voice per part with authentic instruments. The recording makes for a good concert; as a recording it’s odd to juxtapose different music like this.

I liked the string playing by the Modern Quartet of the WTC better, I think, but that said, hearing Bach’s fugues for four independent strings is always a treat. Comparing Stabat Mater and Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden is fun in a contrast of details of text and harmony. Of special interest to bonafide Bachians.


Aguas de Amazonia by Philip Glass