Even though we weren’t able to come together this year for the Bach Plus Weekend, we took some time to celebrate Bach’s music and life in an online extravaganza of all things Bach. Bach’s music is truly a companion for all times, both good and bad, so it’s particularly fitting that we spend some time with his work and exploring his life.

Our Top Picks for CAMMAC enthusiasts:

Bach – Fugue A minor (Mécénat Musica 14.1 Flûte Alors!) Classical Music Video
A superb performance by Flûte Alors (Vincent Lauzer, Marie-Laurence Primeau, Alexa Raine-Wright, Caroline Tremblay). Filmed in 2014 at the Canal de Lachine & Festival de Musique de Lachine.

Bach – Recorder Concerto BWV1052 (Mécénat Musica 37.3 Ensemble Caprice) Classical Music Video
Extraordinary – a “must-watch” video from Mathias Maute and the Ensemble Caprice!

Les Cantates de l’avent de Bach
A short documentary with Francis Colpron who is also Artistic Director of Les Boréades. A performance from 2016 that we would have all loved to see!

On the program this year for the Bach Plus Weekend: the celebratory first movement of the Bach Cantata BWV 71

Dieu est mon roi depuis les temps les plus recules, c’est de lui que vient tout le secours qui nous est donne en ce monde.

Listen: Bach BWV 71 “Gott ist mein König von altershe”
Performed by the Monteverdi Choir, directed by John Eliot Gardiner.

Read: Bach Cantata Notes

For enthusiasts of Bach’s six solo Suites for cello:

Listen: J.S. Bach: 6 Suites for Cello Solo
Full Album, with István Várdai

Read: Decoding the music masterpieces – Bach’s Six Solo Cello Suites

Watch:

Glory To God Alone: Life Of J.S. Bach
What better way to get closer to the music that to learn about the life of the man.

Peter Pajamas – Une histoire illustrée pour les enfants avec la musique de JS Bach
A tale about the special importance of pajamas, blue pajamas in particular. The story, illustrations, narration, musical selection, and piano performance are by Andy Rangell. Produced by Steinway & Sons and released with a companion album.

Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier … Animated
Bach re-imagined for the 21st century.

Bach’s Toccata and Fugue: The ‘Fantasia’ opener that drove Disney to abstraction
A deep dive into the Disney animation that was for most of us, our first introduction to Bach. And who doesn’t want to watch it again?

Watch Glenn Gould’s classic documentary on Bach, The Art of the Fugue.

Did you know that Bach wrote an ode to coffee?

11 Facts About Johann Sebastian Bach

Long Reads:

J S Bach (Oxford Composer Companion)
Édité by Malcolm Boyd
This Composer Companion is a unique and definitive guide to the life, music, and legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician
par Christoph Wolff
Although we have heard the music of J. S. Bach in countless performances and recordings, the composer himself still comes across only as an enigmatic figure in a single familiar portrait. As we mark the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death, author Christoph Wolff presents a new picture that brings to life this towering figure of the Baroque era. This engaging new biography portrays Bach as the living, breathing, and sometimes imperfect human being that he was, while bringing to bear all the advances of the last half-century of Bach scholarship. Wolff demonstrates the intimate connection between the composer’s life and his music, showing how Bach’s superb inventiveness pervaded his career as musician, composer, performer, scholar, and teacher.

The New Bach Reader: Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents
Édité par David Theodor Hans, Arthur Mendel, Hans T. David, Christoph Wolff
Discover a wealth of historical detail in this compendium that explores the development of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and profiles his life through letters and documents.

Music in the Castle of Heaven : A Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach
par John Eliot Gardiner
Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the most unfathomable composers in the history of music. How can such sublime work have been produced by a man who (when we can discern his personality at all) seems so ordinary, so opaque – and occasionally so intemperate? John Eliot Gardiner takes us as deeply into Bach’s works and mind as perhaps words can. The result is a unique book about one of the greatest of all creative artists.

Exploring the World of J. S. Bach: A Traveler’s Guide
par Robert L. Marshall (auteur), Traute M. Marshall (auteur)
A singular resource, Exploring the World of J. S. Bach puts Bach aficionados and classical music lovers in the shoes of the master composer. Bach scholar Robert L. Marshall and veteran writer-translator Traute M. Marshall lead readers on a Baroque Era odyssey through fifty towns where Bach resided, visited, and of course created his works. Drawing on established sources as well as newly available East German archives, the authors describe each site in Bach’s time and the present, linking the sites to the biographical information, artistic and historic landmarks, and musical activities associated with each. A wealth of historical illustrations, color photographs, and maps supplement the text, whetting the appetite of the visitor and the armchair traveler alike.

Bach ou le Meilleur des mondes
De André Tubeuf
L’un des plus grands penseurs français sur la musique nous invite à redécouvrir Bach, authentique témoin de l’optimisme des Lumières, plus que jamais salutaire en ces temps incertains.

Bach en son temps
Par Gilles Cantagrel
Voici un ouvrage capital qui regroupe quelque 400 textes d’époque émanant du compositeur, de ses contemporains et de divers témoins du XVIIIe siècle.

Jean-Sébastien Bach
De Roland de Cande
De Jean-Sébastien Bach, l’un des plus grands génies qu’à connus le monde occidental, longtemps fut conservée l’image de vieux ” cantor ” sévère et pompeux, figé par la gloire. C’est un tout autre personnage que nous révèle Roland de Candé : tendre et coléreux, exigeant et généreux, patient et combatif, passionné, sensuel, attaché aux traditions et curieux de l’avenir. Bien que sans vanité, il se sait pleinement maître de son art.

Chercheur d’éternité : Jean-Sébastien Bach
De Jean-Luc Delut
Jean-Sébastien Bach raconté par lui-même, tel est le thème de ce livre. Vous y découvrirez l’univers d’un des plus grands génies de la pensée musicale occidentale. Il essaiera de vous faire comprendre qu’au-delà du simple divertissement, la musique est, comme le disait Beethoven, une “révélation au-delà de toute sagesse et de toute philosophie”. JS Bach a peu parlé de lui mais son oeuvre remplace tous les témoignages.