Comparing Performances

As our listing of Bach performances grows, it is interesting to compare their interpretation, production values and of course, the performers. Not surprisingly, I wrestle with the choice of performances to include. Even when limited by the availability of video performances on Youtube or Vimeo, I’m overwhelmed by the abundance of performances of popular compositions.

For example, here are three performances of the Brandenburg Concerto No 4 (BWV1049). Which do you prefer?

  • Is the Freiburg Orchestra a bit “staid” and serious?
  • What do you think of Shunske Sato’s performance on the NBS version?
  • Have you ever seen four recorders as in the Voices of Music version (from 6:45)?

Would love to hear from you -(email mh at – Marius

A 15 year old recording by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra (more info):

A recent Netherlands Bach Society recording (more info):

A US ensemble, Voices of Music (more info)

Keeping up the detail

Over the past week, I’ve doubled the number of listings, so now we have almost 100 different recordings listed (yeah!).
titlesOne continuing challenge is to identify the details of all performers. Unfortunately, most credits display only solo artists and it’s an almost impossible task to identify all players. The Brandenburg Concertos by the Freiburger Barockorchester as a good (bad…) example of this.

As this site attracts more visitors, I hope to be able to ‘crowd-source’ more details about the performers.  For the moment, I’ll do my best to identify as many as possible.

Getting closer…

We are getting closer to having a serviceable “Some of Bach” website. The listings are now generated from a database, so I can speed up the process of adding more entries. The musicians‘ listing is created automatically when information about a performance is entered or updated. The links to an individual’s performances is up to date, the biographical information is still lacking on most entries

Rather than working on the live site, I’m implementing a staging server, so hopefully the main site will be relatively stable from here. There is still much to do, the next priority is to improve the presentation of the listings – they are a bit plain and unattractive just now.

Anyway, back to work…

The Next Step

I’m building this site to “scratch an itch”, making it easier to find, explore and compare performances of J.S. Bach’s works. Just in case anyone is watching and wondering why the listing hasn’t moved much since starting it a bit over a month ago , it’s because I’ve been focused on the “back-end”.

I really do hope to have a ‘complete’ listing of 1000’s of performances here eventually, so it makes sense to spend a bit of time constructing that properly. The current listing is just a prototype “to play with”. Undoubtedly, the site will evolve over time, but there will be a first “real” version live in the coming week.

In the mean time, here is a documentary by Bruno Monsaingeon about David Fray’s Bach to keep us entertained. Not everyone’s cuppa tea, but interesting “in the mix”. Enjoy…

By the way, it is disgraceful that the individual musicians from the Deutche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen were not identified in the credits of this documentary.

Swinging Bach

As much as I love Bach on original instruments, there are so many other ways to enjoy Bach. In this case, “live” from the market place in Leipzig.

So many great musicians, but not sure where and how to include their work here.

What are we doing here?

I love Bach’s music in any form and this is where I collect performances of his works. When I say “collect”, that means saving a link to any interesting (video) performance of his works.

Inevitably, that doesn’t mean linking to everything or everyone, we’ll just collect (mostly) complete works. And it will be a while before the collection gets to a useful size, so be patient.

Who am I? I’m just someone who enjoys J.S.Bach’s music in all its forms. I make no claims about my special expertise or qualifications. This is the Internet, so I can…

Inevitably, we’ll link to a lot of works from the efforts by the Netherlands Bach Society. They have set the bar for performances very high indeed. Gorgeous video, terrific performers and beautiful performances. Bach at its best and as an inspiration.

Marius Coomans
Sydney, Australia
mh at coomans dot com