Composer in Focus: J S Bach

Bach-2Name: Johann Sebastian Bach
Dates: 1685-1750
Country of Birth: Germany
Musical Era: Baroque

J S Bach really is the grandfather of classical music, inspiring the likes of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven with the technical skill of his keyboard writing, not to mention his epic choral works.  He started his musical life as a church organist and went on to become a court musician in Weimar. It was there that he began to turn his back on religious writing, instead embracing more secular music.  A great interpreter and arranger of other people’s music, Bach was a fan of his Italian contemporary Antonio Vivaldi and the energy inherent in Vivaldi’s work inspired Bach’s own writing in later years.

Key works… Brandenburg Concertos, Solo Cello Suites, Goldberg Variations, The Art of Fugue, St Matthew Passion and Mass in B Minor.

Did you know?  Bach was once imprisoned in Weimar for thinking of leaving.

Bach in Bristol (March 2016)
Friday 4 March, 7.30pm / Angela Hewitt plays The Art of Fugue (St George’s)
Thursday 10 March, 1pm / Andres Carciente (piano) ‘Aria Variata’ (St George’s)
Saturday 12 March, 6pm / Bristol Choral Society ‘St Matthew Passion’ (Colston Hall)

Learn more about Bach and listen to playlists at sinfinimusic.com

Composer in Focus: Gustav Mahler

Mahler-2Name: Gustav Mahler
Dates: 1860-1911
Country of Birth: Austria
Musical Era: Romantic

Known today largely for his immense symphonic writing, Mahler’s earliest works were much shorter songs and song cycles, though both would carry through the composer’s seeming obsession with mortality.  One of fourteen children, almost half of whom had died in infancy, the young Mahler was encouraged and indeed made his first recital appearance at the tender age of ten.  Quickly accepted into the Vienna Conservatory, Mahler soon proved himself to be not just a very fine composers, but also a capable conductor.  Conducting actually took over, with tenures around Europe and even in America and composing becoming something he would do in his spare time. The whole spectrum of human emotions can be found in his major works, which display a keen ear for melody and more than a hint of the darkness within.  Love and death indeed.

Key works… Symphony Nos 1-10, Kindertotenlieder

Did you know?  Mahler briefly moved to New York where he conducted both the Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic

Mahler in Bristol (March 2016)
Saturday 4 March, 7.30pm / Bristol Metropolitan Orchestra ‘Symphony No 4’ (St George’s)
Tuesday 8 March, 7.30pm / English Piano Trio ‘Piano Quartet in A minor’ (The Lantern)
Friday 11 March, 7.30pm / Oslo Philharmonic ‘Symphony No 5’ (Colston Hall)

Learn more about Mahler and listen to playlists at sinfinimusic.com