London, January 2023

Bach.Club | Vol. I

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Recharge each day with good music

January 2023 edition

Every piece is a jewel from Johann Sebastian Bach’s treasure box: uplifting or relaxing, carefully chosen for your inspiration. Performances by both favourite and less familiar artists are an invitation for you to look for your own discoveries.

What have you found? Let us know in a comment!

☕️ If you enjoy reading and listening, why not buy us a coffee ?

Tuesday, 31st Jan

924 (after Little Prelude in C, BWV 924)

Dieter Ilg, Rainer Böhm, Patrice Héral

His music transcends baroque, classical, old or new. Eternally inspiring beyond the genre boundaries. Hard rock, pop, jazz… artists draw from Bach’s genius until this day.

Monday, 30th Jan

Fantasia in C minor, BWV 906

Wanda Landowska

A flamboyant piece, a dazzling artist, and an extravagant harpsichord. Landowska believed there was no ‘progress’ in art, and we are indebted. Timeless.

Sunday, 29th Jan

Week 4 Summary

Pleiad of instruments, exploring, and re-arranging…

– bookmark this page, and follow @bachdotclub for more inspiration.

Saturday, 28th Jan

Allegro BWV 998

Robert Hill

The last of the 3-movement work (after Prelude & Fugue), according to manuscript intended “for lute or harpsichord”. This recording uses a rare lute-harpsichord (Lautenwerck), usually featuring gut strings and mellow sound. Bach owned two, but none survived.

Friday, 27th Jan

Mozart: Adagio & Fugue in D Minor after J.S. Bach, BWV 849

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

Bach’s works have influenced future generations. Mozart (born #otd 1756) arranged some of his fugues from The Well Tempered Clavier (for string quartets) and preceded them with new preludes inspired by Bach’s originals.

Thursday, 26th Jan

Quodlibet from Goldberg Variations, BWV 988


“Cabbage and turnip drove me away”, one of German folk tunes woven into this magnificent piece. Playing Quodlibets, light-hearted improvisations upon various melodies, was a happy occasion for Bach’s family, filled with good humour and music.

Wednesday, 25th Jan

Allegro from Flute Sonata in E minor, BWV 1034

Ashley Solomon, Terence Charlston

Spectacular, acrobatic & emotional. The intensity of affect in this last movement of the sonata seems demands utmost agility from both the flautist & harpsichord.

Tuesday, 24th Jan

Prelude from Suite for Viola solo in Eb Major, BWV 1010

Kim Kashkashian

Bach knew how to write beautiful viola parts, rich & independent (unlike some other popular composers who used them to fill the harmony). This Prelude arranged for viola brings a metaphysical experience, with a heartbeat of the deep bass notes, and immense space.

Monday, 23rd Jan

Largo from Concerto for 4 Harpsichords, Strings & Continuo in A Minor, BWV 1065

Kenneth Gilbert, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Nicholas Kraemer, Trevor Pinnock, The English Concert

Glorious glitter, the hypnotic sound of four harpsichords meandering through harmonic sequences. Bach The Extravagant (borrowing from Vivaldi).

Sunday, 22nd Jan

Week 3 Summary

Bach, the father of Jazz, and celebrating the Year of the Rabbit.

– bookmark this page, and follow @bachdotclub for more inspiration.

Go to summary:

Saturday, 21st Jan

Es streiten from Cantata BWV 134a

Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Ton Koopman

„In the future there is strife and victory, In the past there is strife and splendour.” Written as a birthday piece for the Royal House of Anhalt-Köthen, this ‘serenata’ was premiered on the New Year 1719. Tomorrow it’s the first day of the Chinese New Year, the year of the Rabbit.

Friday, 20th Jan

Gloria Patri from Magnificat in D major BWV 243

Solomon’s Knot

In this sparkling, live performance, Solomon’s Knot present the piece in their signature chamber setting. Bach, a word-painter, starts the last movement with the powerful “glory” contrasted with the voices rising from our lowly Earth to Heaven. He then re-introduces the musical material of the 1st movement, literally referring to “as it was in the beginning”. The final brushstroke is when the vocal parts unite in an extensively long note: to mark the Glory lasting “throughout ages and ages.”

Thursday, 19th Jan

Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582

Marie-Claire Alain

Laconic, yet lush. So much imagination shines through this masterpiece, a ground bass repeated with obsession, as if infinitely. Bach’s might be the ultimate passacaglia, least because it’s far from the usual descending 4-note motif.

Wednesday, 18th Jan

Dolce for violin & organ from Sonata in A major BWV 1015

Richard Tognetti, Neal Peres Da Costa

Obbligato harpsichord part sounds superbly intimate on chamber organ, and this 2nd of the violin sonatas gains a new, slightly archaic, but also cozy, domestic dimension. Some warmth, very welcome during this cold snap in London, from the musicians of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Tuesday, 17th Jan

Allegro assai from Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047

Wynton Marsalis
English Chamber Orchestra

It’s a little known fact that Bach was a precursor of jazz. Well, no. But he was writing walking bass lines all the time, and figured bass is an improvisation upon harmony drafted in numbers. Not a big surprise then to have the director of Jazz at Lincoln Center play a Brandenburg Concerto.

Monday, 16th Jan

Ich ruf zu dir, BWV 639 (Orgelbüchlein)

André Isoir

“Lord, hear the voice of my complaint” from the Little Organ Book, with deep meaning and emotion. A walking bass-line and a 16c. chorale melody (from Johannes Agricola) are peaceful, but the middle voice meanders anxiously, sometimes with uncomfortable leaps – this is call full of hope out of anguish. This tenor line has a traditional viol-like texture, referencing an old instrumental tradition (that Bach also used in St John’s Passion).

Sunday, 15th Jan

Week 2 Summary

A 16th century tune making its way, through Bach, to 21st century, enchanting colours of different instruments, and lively, dancing energy
– bookmark this page, and follow @bachdotclub for more inspiration.

Go to summary:

Saturday, 14th Jan

Adagio from Concerto in D minor, BWV 974

Mario Brunello, Accademia dell’Annunciata dir. Riccardo Doni

Bach transcribed often. He re-used his own works, and frequently borrowed from other composers. Yesterday we heard a reconstruction of one of his works, and today a beguiling re-imagining of another: Harpsichord Concerto (based on an oboe one by Alessandro Marcello) played on a piccolo cello. Bach’s approach lives on.

Friday, 13th Jan

Allegro from Concerto for Violin & Oboe, BWV 1060R

Cecilia & Alfredo Bernardini, Dunedin Consort

A family dance, with father and daughter dialoguing while the whole ensemble, directed by John Butt, engages in a lively, and seemingly effortless, pas de bourrée. And a convincingly reconstructed Bach’s piece preserved today as a Concerto for 2 Harpsichords.

Thursday, 12th Jan

Fugue in G minor, BWV 1000

Evangelina Mascardi

Recorded with such detail that you can hear the fingers touching the strings of the lute, this is a very intimate Bach. A beautifully personal master of the fugue.

Wednesday, 11th Jan

No. 25, Goldberg Variations BWV988

Władysław Kłosiewicz

A showcase of the harpsichord’s myriad colours and sonorities – to pick one variation is daunting. Here is one with an illusion of a “spatial” sound, and a rare use of the true lute stop (not to be confused with buff!).

Tuesday, 10th Jan

Kron und Preis gekrönter Damen, Königin! BWV 214

Dominik Wörner, Jean-François Madeuf, Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki

Bach wrote this dramma per musica for the birthday of Maria Josepha, Queen of Poland and Electress of Saxony (1733). A year later he re-used lots of music in his Christmas Oratorio.

Today would be my mother’s birthday, so “Crown and praise of crowned ladies, Queen! with your name I shall fill the whole world.”

Monday, 9th Jan

Ei nun, mein Gott, so fall ich dir, Chorale from Cantata 65

Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim, Heinrich-Schütz-Chor Heilbronn, Fritz Werner

This recording from 1960 brings us back more than one generation. The cantata, first performed on 6 January 1724, was composed for Epiphany (this year it was last Friday). The tune (that Bach used on a few other occasions) dates even further back, to a French chanson from 1529 by Claudin de Sermisy. We are listening to it now, in 21st century – wondrous.

Sunday, 8th Jan

Week 1 Summary

From The Well Tempered viols, to the organ chirping like a bird.
– bookmark this page, and follow @bachdotclub for more inspiration.

Go to summary:

Saturday, 7th Jan

Fantasia in G major BWV 573 (Piéce d'orgue)


Laurence Dreyfus arranged Bach’s keyboard piece for his consort of viols, in a freshly released (2023) single promising a wonderful new album, already 3rd in a series of Well Tempered Consort. We can’t wait!

Friday, 6th Jan

Duetto in F, BWV 803

András Schiff

Oh the clavichord… you won’t hear it if a loud car passes by your window, but let your ears focus and you will discover so much expression. Not only as it’s the only keyboard instrument allowing the player to vibrate the notes.
Duetto for one? That’s ‘bicinium’, with two hands having a dialogue.

Thursday, 5th Jan

Canzona, BWV 588

Jörg Halubek

Can you hear the birds chirping? While it’s unlikely that they nested inside the organ, this fascinating instrument can imitate some natural sounds. It can also have stops designed to inspire awe and amazement, e.g. turning stars, or wing flapping eagles.

Wednesday, 4th Jan

Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden, BWV 1083

Nancy Argenta, Diego Fasolis, Guillemette Laurens, I Barocchisti

Giovanni Batista Draghi (“Pergolesi”) was born on this day 4 Jan 1710. Bach, notorious borrower, took his famous “Stabat Mater” and rearranged it to the text of Psalm 51, adding a beautiful viola part. With that velvety richness the piece gained a new depth and impact.

We also recommend a recording of this piece by The Bach Players (“Bach Arranging and Arranged”) – not available on streaming platforms but worth exploring!

Tuesday, 3rd Jan

Ei! wie schmeckt der Coffee süße, BWV 211

Emma Kirkby & Liza Beznosiuk, with Academy of Ancient Music dir. by Christopher Hogwood

After the New Year’s celebration it’s first day back at work so… coffee anyone? Bach definitely wanted one and he was known to frequent Cafe Zimmerman (Zimmermannsches Kaffeehaus) in Leipzig that also became a scene for his Coffee Cantata.

In this aria the girl would prefer her coffee to muscat wine, or to a thousand kisses 😘 … “ah!, just give me some coffee!”.

Monday, 2nd Jan

Little Prelude No. 1 in C major, BWV 933

Glenn Gould

A “Prelude” is filled with anticipation… What will come next? This energetic work is full of optimism!

Sunday, 1st Jan

Overture from Orchestral suite in D major, BWV 1068

Les Concert des Nations, Jordi Savall

“Ouverture” means an opening so what better way to start a year than with this Bach’s glorious piece? Full of energy, and the sparkling fireworks of the trumpets – an instrument Bach reserved only for special occasions – it is a beautiful movement, and a fitting start of a new, hopeful journey.

Curated for You by Bach Club |  Official Website  |  Let’s talk on mastodon

Comment 1

  1. Martin Haddon

    Only just spotted the Daily Bach – great idea with lots of treasures to explore! I was on the website to catch up after last night’s concert in St Mary’s, Barnes, with The Beautiful Object. We found it an exciting and original piece – an ideal counterpoint to the Baroque style of the Purcell which receded it. The whole concert worked together brilliantly. Thankyou, Pawel, for conceiving and delivering it! It deserves a longer life!


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