It’s important, with so much crazy stuff going on in the world, to remember that humans are amazing. One such individual provides ample evidence of this – Johann Sebastian Bach. Why is it that a modest middle class citizen of Leipzig, who travelled no further than 200 miles from his birthplace, who fathered 20 children, who was a musician, a teacher and a composer, and a devout Lutheran, is still so loved today? Only one of his works was printed and published in his lifetime, and we may never have heard of him if it weren’t for another great artist, Felix Mendelssohn, who championed Bach and brought his work out of the archives of history. One of Bach’s keyboard works is travelling somewhere way out in space as an example of human artistic output (Prelude in C) in the hope it will be intercepted by other life beyond our galaxy, and another (Aria from the Goldberg Variations) has been used to powerful effect in movies, including Truly, Madly, Deeply. And Bach loved to play with mathematics and games in his music, three centuries before the buzzword STEAM was invented.
In the audience for Musica Viva’s recent presentation of the group Tafelmusik in Canberra, we gained deep insight into Bach’s lifestyle and greater understanding of the structure of his music. The Canberra International Music Festival plans to focus on JS Bach in 2019. The Song Keepers movie is showing in cinemas around Australia. It tells the story of a choir of Indigenous women who include in their repertoire hymns learned from German missionaries in Central Australia - which likely includes tunes by JS Bach who wrote huge amounts of music for the Lutheran Church. Earlier this year, on railway platforms and subway stations all around the world (including our event in Gunning, NSW) groups popped up singing and playing Bach’s repertoire to celebrate his birthday.
JS Bach is a time lord. And he will land in Canberra on Sunday June 17th for One Sunday in the City. His assistants will be a group of young students from Wild Voices Music Theatre and the Wesley Scholars (plus some special guests) who will play, sing and speak in pop up performances throughout Canberra Civic.
This project is funded by a grant from the City Renewal Authority, and is partnership between Wild Voices Music Theatre and Wesley Music Centre. It is part of Wintervention, a series of events enlivening the city centre in surprising and diverse ways through the Canberra winter.
Performance locations: Civic Bus Interchange - Platform 3; Garema Place - Poets’ Corner; Canberra Centre - grand piano on level 1 & David Jones grand portico entrance off City Walk; Smith’s Alternative - outdoor piano; and we are bringing a harpsichord to a surprise location on the day.
Timing: Look out for these FREE popups between 11am and 4pm on Sunday June 17th 2018 (Exact timing details will be published in full later next week.)