mar 20 apr | Sparrow Live

Bach Blossoms - A Garland of Preludes and Fugues from Johann Sebastian Bach's "Well Tempered Clavier" (1)

Spend some mindful time listening to these gems of baroque harpsichord music, for in the words of the composer, "Gods gracious presence is always felt in thoughtful music..."
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Bach Blossoms - A Garland of Preludes and Fugues from Johann Sebastian Bach's "Well Tempered Clavier" (1)

Time & Location

20 apr, 21:00 CEST – 21 apr, 01:00 CEST
Sparrow Live

About the Event

Bach Blossoms

Bach created two books of short pieces through all tonalities, to be performed mostly on the harpsichord which was the leading keyboard instrument of his times.

Directly from her home in Italy, Marie Kuijken brings you a selected series of these marvelous pieces played on her beautiful two-manual harpsichord, while introducing you with a few words into this finest musical universe.

Musica medicina dolorum: quite like those other "Bach Blossom" remedies, you can use these musical flowers to move yourself into a state of major inner harmony. Each Prelude or Fugue has its particular atmosphere, where you can dwell in and come back to, over again. By listening several times, you will savour this music evermore, and feel its harmony come over you, like the beauty of spring flowers.

Das Wohltemperierte Klavier (BWV846–869)

Johann Sebastian Bach composed the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier in the early 1720s;  the second book followed 20 years later in 1742.

This masterpiece is regarded as being among the most important works in the history of classical music, as it is the largest-scale and most-influential systematical collection of pieces for solo keyboard of the baroque era.

Each book contains twenty-four pairs of a prelude and a fugue . The first pair is in C major, the second in C minor, the third in C♯ major, the fourth in C♯ minor, and soon. The rising chromatic pattern continues until every key has been represented, finishing each book with a B minor fugue.

As to the term “well-tempered”: it refers to the fine tuning of the instrument. In Bach’s times, different tuning systems were used under different circumstances, according to the type of instruments, kind of music to be played, and tonalities that would be used. Contrary to the main belief,“well-tempered” most probably did not refer to the system of equal temperament, which imposed itself in western music practice only in the19th (or even early 20th) century, and still is the standard modern keyboard tuning. Much research has been done into this complex problem of fine tuning; one of the most plausible tuning systems Bach could have had in mind for this work is called Kirnberger, which is the system adopted here. Pitch of the cembalo is A = 415Hz.

The Artist

Fortepianist, soprano, opera coach, and stage director Marie Kuijken was born into the Belgian musical family Kuijken, pioneers in the field of historically informed performance practice. She studied piano at the Brussels Royal Conservatory in the nineties and has been living in Italy since 2002. After her diploma, she autonomously specialized in the Mozartian fortepiano. Over the years she’s regularly performed the fortepiano in Belgium, Italy, throughout Europe and in Turkey – including solo recitals, in duo with her father Sigiswald Kuijken, with her sister Veronica Kuijken, and more. In more recent years, she has also developed as harpsichordist.

As a soprano, Marie Kuijken specializes in 18th century repertory. She’s colaborated with baroque  orchestra La Petite Bande in numerous productions, performing sacred music, and opera alike. In  the late nineties, she made an autonomous study on rhythmical prose, performing 18th century  German spoken melodrama as an actress with orchestra. This fascinating experience led her to further studies over the years, especially on the poetic rhythm of 18th century Italian opera- libretti. In this way she rediscovered the 18th century art of musical declamation. Simultaneously, during the years as a singing actress, she incorporated the art of Baroque Gesture into her own theatrical body language.

As these knowledge and practices matured into a comprehensive vision of historically informed performance & staging of 18th century opera, Marie Kuijken naturally evolved into an expressivity coach for opera singers, and into an operatic age director. From 2012 on, together with Sigiswald Kuijken, she has been leading the La Petite Bande Academy where she has coached and staged singers using her unique approach. Since 2014, she has led and staged productions of Haydn and  Hasse operas with La Petite Bande; in 2016 and 2019 she has staged student productions at the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur (CNSMDP). Thanks to her unique vision and approach, historically informed opera performance becomes a fresh, warm hearted and joyous experience for the public and for the singers involved.

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