Reinventing Bach

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Paul Elie tells how musicians have made Bach’s music new in our time, both restoring Bach as a universally revered composer and revolutionizing the ways his music fits into our lives. In Reinventing Bach, Elie reveals that Bach was on the technological frontier in the 18th century—restoring organs, inventing instruments, and perfecting the tuning system still in use today. Elie also looks at the pioneering musicians have made Bach’s music enduring—organist Albert Schweitzer, cellist Pablo Casals, pianist Glenn Gould, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.


Elie Elie

Comments [7]

Stanley from Harlem

Contrary to preceding comments, I found the discussion, if a bit light-weight, to be not egregiously so. Certainly there are excellent biographies available, notably that of Christoph Wolfe, which accurately place J.S.Bach both historically and musically; and many, if not most music theorists understand well how he achieved his results. If he liked, I think there are people in New York with whom Leonard could have a more comprehensive and yet equally accessible conversation on this subject. BTW, although Bach's place as an organist is undisputed (it is arguable that the Well Tempered Clavier was composed, at least in part, to demonstrate his mastery of organ tuning), I think it would be a mistake to see him primarily in this light.

Oct. 10 2012 01:45 AM
Jim B

Despite Mr. Elie's objection, perhaps the romantic version is more appropriate for Halloween!

Oct. 09 2012 01:58 PM
Robert from NYC

Alber Schweitzer along with Charles Marie Widor published the complete organ works of Bach. Why doesn't he mention that. Schweitzer was a Bach and organ scholar. Wake up man what does this guy know. Oh my goodness this sounds so amateurish and I don't know. Do you really have to ask why the Toccata in d has become horror music?!!! It lends itself to that by the sound of the mode. Ohime!!

Oct. 09 2012 01:57 PM
Robert from NYC

It's strange to hear two people who have NO idea what they're taking about. As an organist and player and adorer of Bach I can tell from listening to this guy that his book is nothing but a regurgitation of every other book on Bach that has been previously written. Neither he nor you, Leonard, know what an organ even is and that fact that Bach himself was primarily an organist who not only played but was asked to test organs, Bach's organ "life" is ignored. You dance around Bach with his Goldberg Variations and non-organ music w/o mention of organ or organists is like slapping the Maestro in the face. BTW were here alive and you did slap him in the face you'd get slapped right back!! I don't think this is a book for the Bach enthusiast.

Oct. 09 2012 01:52 PM
Chris from Jersey

For the record, I believe Leonard means "B3" Hammond when he said: "B37".

Oct. 09 2012 01:49 PM

Bach is a German name. It is correct as the guest is pronouncing. Leonard's german "ch" could be a little more subtle.

Oct. 09 2012 01:37 PM
Eric from manhattan

What is the proper way to pronounce "Bach"?

I've never heard anyone say this with the throat-gargle thing you are doing (like in the Hebrew alphabet).

Isn't it pronounced 'bak'?

Oct. 09 2012 01:33 PM

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