Archive

Today’s video is on the Minuets from the G major Suite, and that means we have to talk about form.   Wait, come back! I promise, it will be ok. As you’ll see, it takes a pop musician to explain baroque paired dance form effectively, and as a bonus, you’ll get to see my soon-to-be world famous James Brown impression. I promise you won’t be disappointed! Pairs of dances in classical …

Today’s video is a reminder of how simple classical music really is. To understand it, you only need to know one thing – that Bach had 20 children. That’s all there is to it. In the Courante from the G major Suite, Bach gives us a musical conversation that any parent will recognize, and he must have had all the time. To learn more, watch the video below! And if you …

Today, part 2 of my new video series on the Bach solo cello suites, featuring the G major Allemande. After Bach’s relentless use of one motif in the famous Prelude, he shifts gears completely and uses several different ideas, going from one to the next very quickly. There’s something of Bach the family man in all his pieces, and this one’s no exception – you’ll see what I mean. Bach also …

  For a long time, I’ve wanted to share my take on the Bach cello suites with a wider audience, so I’ve decided to make a series of videos – each one will cover one movement.  No better place to start than the beginning, with the most famous of Bach’s pieces for solo cello, the Prelude to the G major Suite. I hope you like the video and that the music …

  In my last post, I wrote about my summer visit to my grandmother, and the importance of our music in our relationship since I was a kid. A few weeks after my trip to LA, I attended the Bar Mitzvah of the son of one of my closest friends, who also grew up in a family of musicians. Virtually everyone in the Gershfeld clan plays a string instrument, so …

Today is Bach’s 331st birthday! 4-Way celebrated yesterday, with a performance at Cincinnati Museum Center, as part of Bach In The Subways, the annual celebration of JSB’s big day. If you haven’t already, take a few minutes today and play or listen to some Bach – it’s a nice way to wish him a Happy Birthday, and will make up for the present you forgot to get him. Till next …

Stravinsky supposedly once said:”Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal.” The recent decision to award Marvin Gaye’s family several million dollars over copyright violations by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in their recent hit “Blurred Lines” has sparked a lot of discussion about the border between imitation and plagiarism in the music world, a “blurred line” if there ever was one. There are lots of examples in the classical world, which I’ll get …

Procter and Gamble, maker of brands like Gillette and Tide, is the biggest corporate presence in Cincinnati, where I live, and they are a huge supporter of the arts here. Recently, I performed and spoke at two P&G offices on behalf of Artswave, the Greater Cincinnati region’s local arts agency, which is beginning its big annual fundraising campaign. Many people view what P&G does and what I do as completely different – they make things people need, …

Yesterday, I played on a concert of opera favorites with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and the excellent soprano Sarah Coburn. The program included the famous Rossini overture to “The Barber of Seville,” which frankly is hard for me to get through without giggling – I can only think of Bugs Bunny torturing Elmer Fudd – “Ehhhhhhhh – next!” Besides being the soundtrack for perhaps the greatest cartoon of all time, …

In a post last week, I talked about Time for Three. They play tunes you don’t expect classical musicians to, like The Beatles’ “Blackbird” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” They also do mashups, where Grieg’s Holberg Suite morphs into Led Zeppelin and Justin Timberlake (and goes back too – a neat trick). Now, playing other people’s music well is not easy – anyone who’s heard a third-rate band ruining their favorite …