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I'm a little bummed that the two versions of Art of Fugue are no longer available on Youtube, one a scrolling version by the Emerson String Quartet, and one with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Bernstein.

The Emerson String Quartet version is still available for viewing, but as individual videos for each section.

So I had to substitute other versions. Such is the mysterious world of Youtube videos that come and go.

So here's a "Consolation Prize" of the Juilliard String Quartet performing Contrapuncti 1 - 4 live from Bach Art of Fugue.

I'm probably misunderstanding the reference but is this what you were referring to -

 

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JS Bach

So that's five from Bach, with a short appetizer, and a “Bonus Bach”:

181. Bouree from Lute Suite in E minor

182. Mass in B minor
183. Goldberg Variations
184. The Art of Fugue
185. The Musical Offering

BONUS. Partita No. 4: Sarabande


186. Partita for Violin no. 2 in D minor


So . . . here's dessert.

187
Air on the G String
, the second movement from Orchestral Suite #3 In D, BWV 1068


As with most Bach works, they've been reworked, transcribed for other instruments, re-orchestrated, and shoved into TV episodes and films. You can even hear a bit of it in the Yellow Submarine soundtrack and in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.

Overplayed for a good reason: The Air is one of the most famous pieces of baroque music.

Naturally, I'm well aware that some Classical Music elitists look upon this little trifle with disdain, but, it's brilliant in its simplicity.

Let's start with the designation of "Air", not a dance form, but an instrumental 'aria', a lyrical and expressive movement. This Air (written in an asymmetrical binary form) is often played as an independent work, removed from its 1731 Orchestral Suite, which runs a half hour or more, and which the Air is only the second of six movements (starting with an Overture, the Air, 2 gavottes, a bourree, and the predictable ending Gigue.

Of course, this isn’t a simple binary piece with just one modulation – Bach takes us through a wide variety of keys in this piece, everything from the original key of D and its dominant A major, to Cm, Bm, Em, G major and beyond. He also strips out all the extraneous instrumentation, leaving only strings and continuo, a musical 'trick' he also used in the slow movements of The Brandenburg Concertos.

The walking bass pattern helps the piece attain a sort of perpetual motion, never stopping except for strong cadences at the ends of sections. And it's remarkable that this short little piece (it's only 18 measures long!) remains so beautiful and interesting centuries later.

But here's the part you may have missed: WHY is it called Air "on the G string"?

Well, roughly 150 years after it was written, a German violinist, August Wilhelmj made a violin and piano arrangement of the second movement, changing the key from D to C, and transposing the melody down an octave. By doing so, Wilhelmj was able to play the piece on only one string of his violin, the G string.

Here it's played by Early Music ensemble Voices of Music on period instruments, with Hanneke van Proosdij conducting from the baroque organ. I do enjoy this version, as the rest of the instruments aren't drowned out by the overzealous violins.



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I think context is an important component of music, and for those that feel as I do, here is the entire

Orchestral Suite No. 3
Václav Luks Collegium 1704


00:00 Overture
10:08 Air
14:48 Gavotte I and II
18:08 Bouree
19:10 Gigue

I love the ten minute 'Overture', a bouyant, joyous, and rambunctuous rollercoaster of happiness. At 10 minutes, it's practically half the entire Suite.





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Oh, and I almost forgot to include my favorite Air on the G String 'shout out'. This one's from George Martin, in the Sea Of Monsters from the Yellow Submarine soundtrack. You can hear it at around 2:20, although it's fun hearing it in the context of the short 3:36 track.





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And that’s it for the J.S. Bach Deep Dive / J.S. Bach Deep Dive
This is first-rate work - You're really hitting your stride with the concept - Just enough information to be readily accessible, just enough detail to enlighten without overwhelming the reader. Well-written clear-sighted analysis - The curated selections are obviously chosen with great care - and I especially like those tie-ins that you use at the end sometimes in which you extend the subject with popular music analogies.

Also, kudos for respecting the work and continuing to defend compositions whose only crime seems to be that they're too popular.

You do the forum proud - My compliments!
 

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I was writing the above at work about 10:30 pm or so and didn't really have the time to finish the post... The strongest aspect of the thread is the writing style - You can definitely write with clean and clear prose and more importantly, actually be able to explain complex subjects in a manner that isn't condescending to your intended audience. Being able to explain something - anything - is a rare gift - One that I certainly don't have - I need like an hour to explain how to hammer a nail into a piece of wood - maybe 90 minutes if I'm off my game.

But the main point is - You should give serious consideration to writing an actual book - "The Beginner's Guide to Classical Music" - Even if it's one that you print yourself - Give out review copies to high school music teachers - and it might just take off. Do a search on Amazon and try to see how many introductory books on classical music you can find that are actually worth reading. "Classical Music for Dummies" is the least worst of the less than best - which is damning with faint praise.

If you do decide to write and then publish the book - Don't forget to dedicate it to me for coming up with the idea - Make your wife wait for the sequel - :LOL:
 
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