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ange on 09/25/2013 at 01:01PM

Open Source Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier for the Public Domain

How would you put to use a public domain recording of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier?

While Johann Sebastian Bach is already in the public domain, a Kickstarter project called the Open Well-Tempered Clavier is seeking to create hi-quality professional studio recordings of all 48 pieces of the Well-Tempered Clavier. This project comes to us from the same team who released the Open Goldberg Varitions, another public domain collection of Bach works. 

The Well-Tempered Clavier has already had a rich impact on music. A few fun examples include the Swingle Singers a cappella version of Prelude from n.24 in B minor, Peter Coffin's project "Music Interpreted by Brain" featuring a brain listening to the Well-Tempered Clavier pt.1, and Brian Tychinski's marimba arrangement of Prelude No. 22 in B flat major for the O-Zone Percussion Group ensemble. If this project suceeeds, it's exciting to think of all ways the 48 pieces would travel, from remixes to videos to winter nights on the couch.

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dvd on 05/29/2012 at 07:30PM

J.S. Bach Open Sourced & Crowd Funded

After a wildly successful kickstarter campaign, the folks at the Open Goldberg Variations project have finally released their recordings of Bach's famous 1741 composition. Recorded in the Teldex Studio in Berlin (whose client list reads like a who's who of classical conductors and orchestras), producer Anne-Marie Sylvestre beautifully captures pianist Kimiko Ishizaka's performance of Bach's masterpiece. It is not every day that someone puts so much time and effort into a classical recording only to turn around and offer it up to the public domain free of charge. In fact, according to the project's creators, this is the first fan-funded, open source, and completely free recording ever produced. The recording is accompanied by a newly revised edition of the score open peer-reviewed and put together by musescore.

The recording is licensed under Creative Commons Zero, which effectively allows the recording to be used by anyone, for anything, in any way. It's the most "open" license offered by Creative Commons and is designed to assist artists who wish to waive their creative rights and dedicate their works to the public domain.

Read a review from Catching The Waves

Visit The Open Goldberg Variations on:

Free Music Archive | Soundcloud | Official Website | Facebook

We're very excited to share this monumental work and we can't give enough kudos to the Open Goldberg Variations team!


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eliasb on 01/12/2012 at 03:24PM

Bach's Complete Organ Works

The FMA is proud to present Dr. James Kibbie’s ambitious project, the performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s complete works for organ.

Since Bach needs no introduction, I’ll focus on what else makes this a special treat for the FMA. For one, Dr. Kibbie recorded in Germany on the region’s finest original baroque organs. These instruments, each occupying multiple stories in a church, are to an electric organ as this gong is to a Zildjian cymbal. Dr. Kibbie selected them to meet the stylistic requirements of Bach’s opus, and you can learn more about each organ at the Block M Records website.

The scope of this project is huge. There are 270 separate compositions, some in multiple movements. This amounts to over 16 hours of music. The recordings are organized by style of composition or groups that Bach put them in.

The piece I have attached is the Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, one of Bach’s most famous works. It opens with an ominous bass line, the final note of which comes out as a kind of primordial roar on the 1724-30 Trost organ in Waltershausen, Germany. This line gets repeated throughout the first part of the piece, the Passacaglia, while above it, Dr. Kibbie goes to work on Bach’s variations. The second part, a fugue, is equally impressive. You might recognize this composition from a number of places, including the Godfather baptism sequence (it starts around 1:35). These extraordinary 13 minutes are a great introduction to the rest of this project.

>> James Kibbie - Bach Organ Works on the FMA

>> The project on Block M (University of Michigan's record label)

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bach, classical, organ, baroque
katya-oddio on 06/14/2010 at 09:30AM

Bach for Piano

detail from album cover

Brazillian pianist Felipe Sarro performs original works by German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as nine transcriptions of Bach's work for piano by Russian composer Alexander Ilyich Siloti. Sarro performed all pieces on a Grotrian-Steinweg Concertino piano.

There are over 1,000 known compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (Bach Works Catalogue) is a numbering system identifying his compositions. The prefix BWV, followed by the work's number is the shorthand identification for Bach's compositions. The works in the BWV are grouped thematically, not chronologically.

Sarro begins the CD with one of the six suites written for the clavier (harpsichord or clavichord) between 1722 and 1725 known as "The French Suites." The suite is followed by the Sinfonia No. 11 in G minor. It is part of the "Inventions and Sinfonias," a collection of 30 short keyboard compositions composed between 1685 and 1750, consisting of fifteen inventions (two-part contrapuntal  pieces) and fifteen sinfonias (three-part contrapuntal pieces). They were originally written by Bach as exercises for the musical education of his students. He titled the collection:

"Honest method, by which the amateurs of the keyboard – especially, however, those desirous of learning – are shown a clear way not only (1) to learn to play cleanly in two parts, but also, after further progress, (2) to handle three obligate parts correctly and well; and along with this not only to obtain good inventions (ideas) but to develop the same well; above all, however, to achieve a cantabile style in playing and at the same time acquire a strong foretaste of composition."

Quite the title!

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