Old and New Preludes.

Bach and Shostakovich Intertwined.

The six Brandenburg Concertos by J. S. Bach were composed between 1712 and 1721 for various unrelated occasions; but Bach assembled them into one collection.

But what does Dmitri Shostakovich have to do with Bach’s music? After all, the music of these two composers is intertwined on this recording. Why?

When the Russian composer was a judge at the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig in 1950, he was deeply impressed by Bach’s two collections of the Well-tempered Clavier. Upon returning to Moscow, Shostakovich followed Bach’s example and composed his own cycle of preludes and fugues in all 24 keys.

Even though he holds firmly to his own musical language with its tonal liberties, Shostakovich’s use of baroque themes provides a constant source of surprise. The rhythmic flow of the independent melodic lines seems to imitate Bach’s use of complementary rhythms, too.

Of the many recordings of the Brandenburg Concertos available today, this one is outstanding–and the interleaving of the Shostakovich really works in an interesting way.

Here are the Dmitri Shostakovich 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op.87 performed by Tatiana Nicolayeva:




And here is the Ensemble Caprice playing the Brandenburg Concerto No.6 in B-flat major BWV 1051 (1st movement):



Finally, here are the Brandenburg concertos gone wild! Johann Sebastian Bach, as played by the Ensemble Caprice:



Tags: Bach, Shostakovich, Preludes, Fugues, Brandenburg, Ensemble Caprice