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July 14, 2004
Vol. IV, No. 20

"Hair Today, Gone Tamale"
In my last Rampage, if you followed the link to The Australian, you may have read the following passage:

"By the latter part of his [Bach's] career, however, baroque was giving way to the lightness and preciousness of the early classical style, soon to become the high-classical style of Mozart and Haydn. To add to the posthumous insult, the leading voices of the new generation were Bach's sons Wilhelm Friedemann, Johann Christian (a mentor to Mozart) and Carl Philipp Emanuel. These sons honoured their father and helped keep his name alive, but among themselves they called dad 'the Old Wig'."

At first, I thought this was simply a case of kids being cruel as only kids can be, but then I came across a story in the Anecdotes section of "The New Bach Reader" that made me think that perhaps Bach earned that nickname honestly. The story is entitled "Bach and the bungler":

"Peaceful, quiet, and even-tempered though Bach was at all unpleasantnesses he encountered at the hands of third persons, so long as they concerned only his personality, he was, however, quite another man when, no matter in what form, anyone slighted art, which was sacred to him. In such cases it doubtless happened at times that he donned his armor and gave expression to his wrath in the strongest ways. The organist of St. Thomas's, who was in general a worthy artist, once so enraged him by a mistake on the organ, during a rehearsal, of a cantata, that he tore the wig from his head and, with the thundering exclamation 'You ought to have been a cobbler,' threw it at the organist's head."

I can just picture myself in that poor organist's place, trying to dodge one of these flying at me:

By the way, if you need to get in touch with me, check the Yellow Pages under C for Cobbler.

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There's still time this summer to enjoy "Bach for Barbecue: Grillin' and Chillin' with Johann Sebastian." Conductor: Neville Marriner, Performers: Pepe Romero, Andras Schiff, et al. I'm not sure how they came up with this idea but it might make a humorous gift for the right person. Not enough organ on it for me, though.

Book Store:
Added is "The New Bach Reader" by Hans T. David (Editor), Arthur Mendel, Christoph Wolff. From "Through hundreds of letters, family papers, anecdotes, and records, the Bach Reader established a new approach to biography by offering original documents in impeccable translations. In The New Bach Reader, Christoph Wolff has incorporated numerous facsimiles and added many newly discovered items, reflecting the current state of scholarship about the composer's life and music. The readings in this volume provide an accurate and vivid picture of Bach's world and of his far-reaching influence." Click the link below for more information on this book:

WHAT I'M READING..."Silence: Lectures and Writings" by John Cage. Yes, I'm still reading this (almost done). I don't find all of it directly relevant to me (such as the dance section) and some of it is purely technical but in general I think it is readable and thought provoking and has had a positive effect on me. Click the link below for more information on this book:
Click this link to see all selections in Dan's Book Club:

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO..."Under My Skin" by Avril Lavigne. The sophomore effort from this young artist isn't as catchy as her first, nor is the production as clever, but I still find myself humming some of the songs and wanting to hear them again. Click the links below for more information on this CD:
Click this link to see all selections in Dan's CD Club:

Have a great week!

Dan Long

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