J.S. Bach was born more than three centuries ago, yet contemporary musicians continue to mine riches from his music. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, award-winning violinist Gil Shaham finds Bach connections in everything he plays.
Susan Lewis: Gil Shaham’s repertoire includes music from Brahms to Berg, Mozart to Mendelssohn, and Gershwin to Gluck. But who else is grabbing his attention these days? Johann Sebastian Bach – whose solo sonatas and partitas Shaham has just recorded. Shaham says he’s caught the "Bach Bug."
Gil Shaham: It's an amazing thing to have, and I discovered what so many musicians discovered before me - that there is no greater joy than playing Bach, hearing Bach, and studying Bach.
SL: And everything, he says, goes back to Bach.
GS: I never realized how close it was. If you think of Mozart...he said, 'this is music we can learn from.' He became a Bachian and studied for many months the music...same with Beethoven, who started out playing The Well Tempered Clavier. Same with Chopin. Brahms. Schumann. And later, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Bartok, Berg - they all studied the music of Bach.
SL: While much was written for the church, the music, says Shaham, is sacred in more ways than one.
GS: I feel that musicians feel that Bach's music is sacred to our art.
SL: Gil Shaham’s recording, J.S. Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, is available on the Canary Classics Label.