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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

A Playlist of JS Bach Firsts

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Since most of you aren't aware, today is my fiftieth birthday, and in a few days, I will be off for a week of field work at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. But enough about me - it's about the music, and my obsession with the number one.

En français:

This week's playlist features a set of works by Johann Sebastian Bach that have in common the number one. I guess it is true of most composers that the number one has to do with "order of publication" - but for Bach, we rely on the order in which they are listed in the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV) catalogue, and is thus based on Wolfgang Schmieder's order and not necessarily order of publication.

I have chosen a keyboard concerto as performed by Glenn Gould for French CBC television on October 22nd, 1957. According to the CBC archives, he is accompanied by l'Orchestre de Radio-Canada, though the SONY caption claims it is the Ottawa Philharmonic Orchestra. The number one here is arbitrary - it is simply the first keyboard concerto in the BWV catalog.

Yo-Yo Ma plays the first Bach Cello Suite, the Freiburger Barockorchester plays the First Brandenburg Concerto, and Jörg Demus plays the first prelude and fugue from the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier. The prelude was later set by Charles Gounod for the Ave Maria that is attributed to both composers.

(There are several versions of the complete WTC Book I on the internet, some can be found at the Piano Society webpage.)

Happy listening!


Works by Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D minor BWV 1952
Glenn Gould, piano
Orchestre de Radio-Canada conducted by Thomas Meyer

Suite No. 1 in G Major for solo cello, BWV 1007
Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major , BWV 1046
Freiburger Barockorchester, led by Gottfried von der Goltz

Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C Major, BWV 846
(from Das Wohltemperierte Clavier Book I)
Jörg Demus, piano

Ave Maria
(After the Prelude from BWV 846, adapted by Charles Gounod)
Eula Beal, Contralto and Marguerite Campbell, piano

Your YouTube playlist:

October 14 2011, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will be adding a new montage "Mozart 'Number One' Montage" to its Pod-O-Matic Podcast. Read our English and French commentary October 14th on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.

Updated Oct-11-2011 at 10:29 by itywltmt

Classical Music , Composers , Recorded Music


  1. ooopera's Avatar
    Happy birthday!