Posted by Leanne Zacharias, cellist | Thursday October 25, 2012
Johann Sebastien Bach (Getty Images) and Bach aficionado Leanne Zacharias (Chris Hughes)
Lest anyone think the Baroque era was boring, our students are discovering that the dramatic range in these works is extreme: everything from intense passion, angst and sorrow to transcendent joy, dancing flourishes and ornate decoration.
—Leanne Zacharias, cellist
teaches cello at Brandon University and is an enthusiastic and
versatile performer. She plays the whole range of music, including
work with songwriters, both classical and cutting edge.
She also loves
collaborating across genres with choreographers, writers and visual
artists. In the Professor Bach Project she expresses her passion for the
great Baroque composer, Johann Sebastian Bach.
The Professor Bach Project is a brilliant concept, dreamt up by Rose Vanderhooft and Mel Braun, bringing together vocalists and instrumentalists - both students and professionals -in the music of Bach.
Lest anyone think the Baroque era was boring, our students are discovering that the dramatic range in these works is extreme: everything from intense passion, angst and sorrow to transcendent joy, dancing flourishes and ornate decoration. For the Brandon University School of Music students selected to perform, it's an opportunity to be thrown into the unique styles and techniques involved in a historically-informed approach to Baroque music.
Violins, cellos, violas, flutes and keyboard instruments were made differently and thus sounded different in the 17th and 18th centuries than they do today. While this project doesn't directly attempt to recreate the sounds of that earlier era, it does challenge each player to be as informed as possible about the materials Bach had to work with when he wrote these pieces.
What emerges is a host of questions for the players to consider individually and as an ensemble: what does it mean to contemporize ancient works? What can we add? What can a flutist learn from a singer? What can a singer learn from a string player? How does the text influence decisions of tempo, articulation and expression? Was Bach a romantic or a minimalist, or both?
The result of all this questioning is evidence that great works of art can withstand multiple interpretations, and occasionally transcend notions of era or history. They become timeless as they remain relevant to modern musicians and listeners. Far from boring!