Bach – I do not mean the NZ holiday home (for those of you that do not know, a bach in NZ – pronounced "batch" – is the name of our traditional holiday home). Bach, JS….one of the world’s greatest composers!

bach-nha I have been playing Bach solo suites on clarinet in the last few days. I do this occasionally when I don’t really want to practice, but I want to build up endurance – as they are relentless in their physical demands.

Perhaps the most difficult thing about these works – apart from how continuous they are – is how to interpret them so that they make sense. I find them good for using a variety of tonguing to help in this respect. A musical purist would probably shudder at the thought, as the clarinet had not been developed in the time of Bach, however I am playing for my own enjoyment, so it does not really matter  🙂 It allows me to work on aspects of my playing that I want to expand.

Tonight I watched the violinist Vengerov play a movement from one of the suites. He made immediate and perfect sense. It was almost as if the piece could only be performed in this way. I wish I were able to be anything like as compelling when I perform. Immaculate technique and ultimate musicianship did justice to this work of Bach

About David Adlam

I am a conductor, composer, clarinettist and examiner for Trinity Guildhall working in Auckland, New Zealand and overseas
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