Switched-On Music – Bach’s Nightmare?

pianopera posted this switched-on take on the Bach Goldberg Variations BWV 988, played by J.S. on a Kurzweil 250 Digital Keyboard, calling it Bach’s Nightmare: The Ultimate Rape, or The Art of Kitsch.

As an electronic music fan and a Kurzweil user – I actually like these takes on Bach’s classics.

What do you think? Would Bach be switched-on, or is this just the rape of everything holy in classical music?

2 thoughts on “Switched-On Music – Bach’s Nightmare?

  1. In Bach’s time, there really was no concept of fixed instrumentation. To paraphrase Rumsfeld, you performed with the ensemble you had, not the one you might want to have. Parts were doled out by roughly matching the range of the part to the available instruments. Any decent musician could read any clef, and transpose in his head. Improvisational ability was prized and built into nearly every performance, though Bach pulling it out of his butt in the organ loft was a very different thing than e.g. Archie Shepp.

    So Bach would probably not see anything strange at all about hearing his music played on instruments other than the ones he had in mind when he wrote it.

    On the other hand, there’s something kind of awful about a some of these pieces. I have a problem with the patches chosen on some of them; they’re the cliche sounds I hear on cheap locally produced television commercials. Any sort of electronic ‘tine’ sound makes me want to kick someone. And I’ve never heard a synth horn that didn’t make me ill. I think W. Carlos had it right — find a nice sound without regard for mimesis.

    And wtf with the piece with the honky saxaphone?

  2. I've never heard of Bach "pulling it out of his butt in the organ loft" before.

    They must have glossed over that in music history!

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