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Bach-M. Blake
Bach-inspired Piano Works by Michael Blake

Contents

Bach-inspired Piano Works: Works
Bach-inspired Piano Works: Links
Recordingof Bach-inspired Piano Works
Other Arrangements/Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

Michael Blake - Short Biography

Works

Work

No.

Year

Hommage à MDCLXXXV, for harpsichord (in meantone tuning ad lib) or clavichord (incorporating the BACH motif)
Requested by and dedicated to Paul Simmonds
Premiere: May 11, 1994; Brighton Festival, Chapel Royal, Brighton, England; Paul Simmonds (harpsichord)
Score BD 0551
Duration: 7:00

*

1985/1994

This piece was written in response to a long-standing request from Paul Simmonds for a new piece especially composed for an old instrument, in this case a modern copy of a classical harpsichord. I departed from the kind of African-European syntheses that I was composing at the time, and decided instead - as it was 1985 - to write an occasional piece marking the tercentenary of the births of three of the greatest composers for the instrument (Bach, Handel and Scarlatti).
I did however adopt two rather African characteristics (though both are not uncommon in European music either). Firstly I chose a different tuning system - meantone temperament, in which the thirds are pure - and secondly I used a cyclic form, in this case a fairly free kind of passacaglia. The theme of this passacaglia is built on the pitch equivalents of
B-A-C-H (B = B flat and H = B natural in German) together with the purely constructed thirds of the meantone tuning. The work opens with a short 'prèlude non measurè' (unmeasured prelude), giving some French perspective to the piece.
Although I first sketched the work in 1985 - with the
Bach tercentenary in mind - it was put aside for a number of years before I finally completed it early in 1994.
Source:
Michael Blake: Programme notes

   

French Suite (African Journal No 20a), for solo piano
Premiere: November 26, 1994; St Luke's Concerts, Brighton, England; Sally Rose (piano)
[Bardic Edition BD 0776]
Recorded by Jill Richards on "Michael Blake: Complete Works for Solo Piano 1994-2004" (MBED001)
Duration: 9:00

 

1994

The form of the French Suite is loosely related to the Bach Suites, consisting as it does of dances in contrasting styles. But there are only two, and both owe their musical genesis to Africa rather than the Baroque. The First Dance is underpinned by a chaconne-like pattern with variations in continually changing metres, interrupted regularly by a short refrain derived from Zimbabwean mbira music. The melodic material of the variations makes reference to West African kora music. By contrast, the Second Dance juxtaposes and sometimes overlays material derived from a wide range of sources including mbira music, again) and the result is analogous to cinematic montage. The instrumental writing derives from 18th-century French harpsichord music and early 20th-century French piano music.
Source:
Michael Blake: Programme notes

   

BWV Fragments, for solo piano
Premiere: May 16, 2002; Beethoven Room, Grahamstown, South Africa; Jill Richards (piano)
[Bardic Edition in "Complete Shorter Pieces for Solo Piano" - BD 0954]
Recorded by Jill Richards on "Michael Blake: Complete Works for Solo Piano 1994-2004" (MBED001)
Duration: 1:00

 

1999

BWV Fragments was written on the occasion of Ishbel Sholto-Douglas' retirement from the Rhodes University Music Department. Her life-long passion for Bach's Cello Suites, which she first introduced me to when I was an undergraduate at Wits University close to three decades before, led me to use them as the source material for this little tribute. I cut and pasted, transposed and superimposed fragments, and deliberately misread clefs, but every single note came from Bach.
Source:
Michael Blake: Programme notes

   

Oh Clare, for solo piano
Requested by Antony Gray for his Bach project on ABC Records (forthcoming 2009)
Premiere: July 17, 2003; Chiswick Music Society, London, England; Antony Gray (piano)
[Bardic Edition in "Complete Shorter Pieces for Solo Piano" - BD 0954]
Recorded by Jill Richards on "Michael Blake: Complete Works for Solo Piano 1994-2004" (MBED001)
Duration: 3:30

*

2003

Oh Clare uses material from the Bach chorale Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (Mvt. 10 from Cantata BWV 147), specifically in the piano arrangement by Myra Hess, and follows the 'floor plan' of that model virtually bar for bar. Composed at the request of Australian pianist Antony Gray for his Bach project for ABC Records, it treats both Bach and Myra Hess rather irreverently, with a touch of Australia's greatest composer Percy Grainger for added irreverence. Who is Clare? A beautiful girl I once knew who had a passion for Bach.
She was the joy of my desiring, and somewhere out there she is probably still pursuing her passion.
Source:
Michael Blake: Programme notes

   

Their souls go waltzing on, for solo piano (incorporating the BACH motif)
Requested by Daniel Matej for the 'Tone Roads' project
Premiere: November 26, 2004; Evenings of New Music, Bratislava, Slovakia; Daan Vandewalle (piano)
[Bardic Edition in "Complete Shorter Pieces for Solo Piano" - BD 0954]
Recorded by Jill Richards on "Michael Blake: Complete Works for Solo Piano 1994-2004" (MBED001)
Duration: 2:15

*

2004

Their Souls Go Waltzing On was another request from Daniel Matej, this time for the Tone Roads Project, commemorating the 130th anniversary of the births of Charles Ives and Arnold Schoenberg. In the spirit of the request I appropriated some fragments of material from Ives's Three-Page Sonata and Schoenberg's Five Piano Pieces Op 23. I remembered that the Ives work opens with the timeless B-A-C-H motif and on reading through the Schoenberg I found it hidden away in various guises. What a perfect opportunity to include JS Bach in the manipulation of these daylight-robbed materials! Taking a cue from Schoenberg's Op 23: No 5 (the Waltz) and the March sections in the Ives, I came up with a kind of march-waltz … or a waltz-march?
Source:
Michael Blake: Programme notes

   
     

Links

Title

Description

Author/Webmaster

Michael Blake: Works

List of works

Michael Blake

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Prepared by Aryeh Oron (August 2011 - September 2011)

Michael Blake: Short Biography | Bach-inspired Piano Works: Works | Recordings | Other Arrangements/Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

Piano Transcriptions: Composer/Arranger: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
BWV Number: Cantatas | Other Vocal | Organ | Chorale Preludes | Keyboard | Solo Instrumental | Chamber | Ensemble & Orchestral | MO & AOF | Name BACH & Bach-Inspired | Discussions: Part 1 | Links | Other Arrangements/Transcriptions

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Last update: ýSeptember 13, 2011 ý09:53:13