Saturday, February 02, 2008

re-visions of history

At the bookstore yesterday I literally tripped into a book called "A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder - How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place" by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman.

Someone wrote a book in defense of the way I live.

I opened it up and read the following passage:

"Of all the jazz artists and jam-banders who might spring to mind when it comes to improvisation, the superstar musician who may be the greatest improvisationalist of all time is well known to the public for everything except his improvisation. Yet so intense was this performer's dedication to jumping beyond the music as written that otherwise adoring audiences and backup musicians sometimes became annoyed at the length and off-the-wall intricacy of his extemporaneous musical wanderings, and he lost gigs over it. Even when sitting in with other musicians, he couldn't resist changing their compositions on the fly.

The irrepressible improviser was Johann Sebastian Bach."

- Abrahamson and Freedman

I was practically on the floor from pure surprise, laughing my ass off.

They go on to say that while improvisation was important in serious music back in the day, J.S. Bach was "infamous for the extent and boldness of it."

Apparently, Johann was a wild and crazy guy.

It does explain why the cadenzas on some solo violin pieces were written so small. They were suggestions but way back when, soloists were supposed to go off and play the hell out of those measures as they saw fit showing off their mad skills to the nth degree.

I have to say that if my violin teachers had encouraged me play my own cadenzas, I might have practiced more than I did. I would have had a reason besides fear of the wrath of my Mother.

1 comment:

C-Belle said...

This only serves to make me even MORE tingly for Bach.