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BACH PASSION

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'... JSB himself would be bewitched and bewildered by what has emerged, even after being introduced to the wonders of electricity.'

A bizarre pilgrimage -
with BASIL RAMSEY

 

This venture challenges all who revere Bach, and probably many who do not. Uri Caine, a fine American jazz pianist, also reveres Bach [listen -- CD 1 track 1, 0:00-0:55]. It is his confrontation with the Goldberg Variations that provides a battlefield, on which I can imagine musicians fighting to the death. To give the full title of this new collection: 'Aria and 70 Variations for various ensembles adapted, arranged and composed by Uri Caine after Johann Sebastian Bach'. I also notice that this album is a co-production with Westdeutsche Rundfunk, so there's a sizeable German investment in the project.

Uri Caine Ensemble - The Goldberg Variations (c) 2000 Winter&Winter

Caine sees beyond the Goldberg to the excitement of paying homage by basing his variations on the original 32 bar structure, swerving between extremes of both imagination and deliberate nonsense, all captured by today's smart recording tricks. After much hesitation, I now feel pretty strongly that JSB himself would be bewitched and bewildered by what has emerged, even after being introduced to the wonders of electricity. I think an additional safeguard for the great man would be explanation of a modern breed of musician-cum-composer-cum-performer, a century of jazz, and the way in which the entire gamut of musical experience down the centuries now intermingles, thereby giving birth to unusual hybrids [listen -- CD 1, track 30, 1:01 -- track 31, 0:32].

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Copyright © 17 December 2000 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - WINTER&WINTER 910 054-2

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