Monday, March 3, 2014

Kicking Off 21 Days of Bach!

This month WGUC launches “Twenty-one Days of Bach” in conjunction with Collegium Cincinnati’s Bach Festival, celebrating J. S. Bach’s birthday on March 21. Collegium Cincinnati will be hosting a variety of performances of Bach works throughout the month. For a list of upcoming concerts, go to

As part of the celebration, Clef Notes will discuss everything related to Bach for the next 21 days, exploring aspects of the composer’s biography and looking at some of his most famous works.

Though today he is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, Bach was thought of simply as a church organist and composer during his day, and little of his work was actually published. Bach tended to compose music to fulfill the desires of his employers: when a church organist, he wrote organ works; when church music director, he wrote cantatas; when a court music director, he wrote music to be used as court entertainment.  

The rest of this week, we will begin our discussion by focusing on the fugue, one of the main forms used in Bach’s keyboard works. One of Bach’s sons, Carl Philipp Emanuel, stated that his father tended to compose away from the keyboard and then once finished, he would play through the work to make sure it worked. He tended to begin by creating a musical subject that he would then develop throughout the composition. Not sure what a fugue is or how it works? Join me next time as I discuss the theory behind the fugue.