Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Johann Sebatian Bach

Johann Sebastien Bach is one of my favorite composers. His music is fantastic. A few months ago I read a REALLY BIG book about him. It was very informative and I learned alot, but it took me two months to read, which slowed me down on my 201 book goal. The little bit I have written below is just a small fraction of all that you can learn about Bach. I'm quite positive I'll be writing a lot more about him later.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician
Christoph Wolff

Johann S. Bach came from a very musical family. He was born in Eisenach, Germany in 1685, which was the same city where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German. When Bach was ten years old, his parents both died and he went to live with his older brother Johann Christoph, who had been a student of Pachelbel. Johann Sebastian learned from this young age the importance of learning from other’s work to help improve one’s own skills. After Johann Chistoph died, Bach went to be a boy soprano at Luneberg, Germany. There he became very good at the violin and viola and by the time he left at eighteen years old he was a master clavichordist, organist and was very good at composing.
He worked in the court orchestra at Weimar, Germany, playing his violin and viola but he loved the organ. So, he moved to Arnstadt where he wrote organ music. In 1705, Bach walked two hundred miles to hear Dietrich Buxtehude, the greatest organist of the time. His music was never the same. In 1707, he moved to St. Blasius where he married his cousin, Maria Barbara. Two of their sons, Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philip Emanuel both became well known musicians.
After a year, Bach moved back to Weimar to be the court organist to Duke Wilhelm Ernst. Being a strong Christian, he wrote a great many chorale preludes and in his “Little Book for the Organ,” he wrote, “To the glor of God alone in the highest and to further the learning of everyone.” In 1717, Bach went to be the court conductor for the Prince of Cothen. He believed that the main reason for writing music was for the glory of God. While in Cothen, he wrote, “The Well Tempered Clavier.” In 1720, Bach returned home from a trip to find out that his wife had died and had been buried while he was away. He later married Anna Magdelena, a soprano for whom he wrote many great works. She helped him greatly in his work. In all, Bach had twenty children, but sadly only ten lived to adulthood. In 1723, Bach went to Leipzig where he became cantor of the St. Thomas Church. It was here that Bach wrote most of his musical compositions.
Bach died at the age of sixty-five and was mourned greatly. Bach is considered one of the greatest, if not THE greatest composers to have ever lived. In truth, his greatness came from God, whom Bach served with upmost adoration. He set an example that we should recognize and follow. Just like the young Johann Sebastian Bach copied other men’s work and used it to further his musical skills, we should look at his life and use it as an example of a man who followed God with his whole heart.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Farewell Symphony

Wow! What a great day the Lord has made!
I had a piano lesson earlier today with my wonderful teacher. I’ve been working on a song called “Andalucia,” by Ernesto Lecuona. My goodness it is an interesting song. At one moment I think it’s great and the next moment it becomes… well, not my favorite to say the least. I like several of Ernesto Lecuona’s songs like, “Gitanarius” and “Maleguena,” but this song does not like to “work with me.”

Yesterday, I read a very neat book to a couple of my younger sisters. It is a picture book called, “The Farewell Symphony” by: Anna Harwell Celenza. I really enjoyed it and so did my younger sisters. The book is about Joseph Haydn, (the famous composer) and his “farewell symphony.” I love the way it portrays all of the feelings of the musicians in the story. Prince Nicholas, whom Haydn worked for had two different estates and he did not allow his musicians to bring their families with when they went to the “summer” estate. The book is great at showing the aggravation of all the musicians at the Prince for doing this. Haydn, not wanting to upset the prince decided to cleverly put their longing for home into a symphony. The book then describes how the prince felt and what he heard during each movement of the symphony. The descriptions were right on. After reading the book I realized that there was a CD included that had the whole symphony. I listened to it and I couldn’t believe how perfectly the descriptions from the book fit the real music. I LOVED it! Anyway, this is a book that I would definitely recommend to people of all ages. My little sisters thought it was fun and I thought it was neat to read the music descriptions. 5 star book! If you do happen to read the book, make sure you listen to the symphony after you’re done reading. It will make you appreciate the book even more.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I am so excited to begin this blog and share what God is teaching me through His gift of music. Music is one of the most amazing aspects of life, in my opinion. In January of 2010 I quit reading fiction books and am on a mission to read 201 music books. As I have begun this mission I have realized that this is not a short time project. There is so much to explore and learn in the area of music. As a musician and piano teacher I have seen the amazing affects that music can have on people. Some of them are great but others are concerning.
Readers will be leaders they say, and I am a firm believer you can learn almost anything you want to by reading. I am on a mission to learn as much about music as possible so that I can further educate more people in the area of music.
I will be using this blog to share what I have learned and am learning in the books I am reading. As Beethoven said, music can take us to places that no one else could take us. The further educated you are, the further music can take you. I am just beginning to understand this first hand.
If at any time you have any great book or topic suggestions let me know. I am always looking for something new. I pray that God will bless you through what I am learning.