themadlatvian

Dame Myra Hess playing Bach - a musical memory from my early childhood.

9 posts in this topic

Just been listening to this wonderful playing.

When I first went to school as a tiny boy in about 1962, I wasn't very happy there to say the least. Being left-handed, if I dared to pick up a pencil in my left hand, I was rapped on the knuckles by the teacher using an edge-on ruler. I was still only 4, but I still remember the pain of that cruelty.

But I also remember from that school that most days we had assembly, Myra Hess playing Jesu Joy would be on as we walked into the school hall. Even at that very early age this music and playing held me spellbound. Such peace and gentleness amidst a place that generally terrified me.

If you don't know this, I hope you enjoy it. If you have come across it before, please indulge me by listening to it again.

The Scarlatti that follows is fine playing also.

:^

[video=youtube;n6BPTCveWH8]

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It's amazing that a gorgeous tune like Jesu joy (Jesu, bleibet meine Freude, from BWV147) had been completely forgotten until Dame Myra rescued it from obscurity as a concert encore. I'm sure Herr Bach expressed his gratitude in the Valhalla where musicians go.

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Nice. Quite percussive in places.

Dinu Lipatti takes it more smoothly

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Nice. Quite percussive in places.

Dinu Lipatti takes it more smoothly

That is certainly very beautiful also, Jerry. I am a great admirer of Lipatti - have got quite a few original vinyl of him, including his famed Chopin recordings.

The Hess version of the Bach is special to me for the reasons in my original post, but I agree that the Lipatti is even more serene and peaceful.

:^

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This movement from the cantata - orchestral parts arranged for organ plus 4-part choir - was one of the first 'big' pieces I recall spending hours rehearsing in my early days playing organ at school. Must have been about 14. Though for some unaccountable reason we sung it in Latin.

I recall also sweating blood to learn one of the chorale preludes on 'Ein feste Burg' only to get disciplined when I played it - no place the battle hymn of the Reformation in my Catholic boarding school.

Having said that, learning and playing it was a fairly self-conscious act of rebellion (daring I know :nerves:).

It's amazing that a gorgeous tune like Jesu joy (Jesu, bleibet meine Freude, from BWV147) had been completely forgotten until Dame Myra rescued it from obscurity as a concert encore. I'm sure Herr Bach expressed his gratitude in the Valhalla where musicians go.

I've spend years now working slowly through the complete cantata set from the Brilliant Classics Bach edition - for which the Alfred Durr book on the cantatas is an absolute must - and it still astonishes me just how much profoundly amazing, imaginative music sits there unknown. I'm more and more convinced that apart from a few major instrumental works this is where Bach focused most of his genius.

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Reading this thread made me get my Jaques Loussier Play Bach records out. He could really swing Bach.

I remember his superb concerts in late 60's and 70's.

R.

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Reading this thread made me get my Jaques Loussier Play Bach records out. He could really swing Bach.

I remember his superb concerts in late 60's and 70's.

R.

I really enjoy Loussier, saw him live a few times, and have three much-treasured LPs.

However, not really comparable to Myra Hess on any level, to be fair.

- - - Updated - - -

...it still astonishes me just how much profoundly amazing, imaginative music sits there unknown. I'm more and more convinced that apart from a few major instrumental works this is where Bach focused most of his genius.

Absolutely. I have some odd Bach organ recordings that are mesmerising. I hate the T&F and all the 'normal' Bach stuff, but there are some really stunning works buried out there.

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I also remember from that school that most days we had assembly, Myra Hess playing Jesu Joy would be on as we walked into the school hall. Even at that very early age this music and playing held me spellbound. Such peace and gentleness amidst a place that generally terrified me.

Same here! Very evocative.

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I can't think of Myra Hess without thinking of this

Which is of course a clip from listen to Britain. For those of you who have not seen it - the full version is here.

I recommend getting the humphrey Jennings DVD from the BFI. Because the impact is greater with better picture and sound. What a genius! And how far away his world seems.

I actually can't watch diary for Timothy without weeping. Bit of a digression really, but if we are on the subject of forgotten genius....

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