French saxophonist Raphael Imbert dangles this tantalizing lure on Bach: Coltrane, which the multi-hornman promotes as the culmination of a research project into the sacred elements of jazz. For the album, a jazz quintet joins the classical Manfred Quartet "to demonstrate the spiritual and musical ties between Bach and Coltrane by following the thread of the Lutheran liturgy that links the Kantor's music, the Negro spiritual, and certain themes written by John Coltrane."
No composer looms over modern jazz quite like Johann Sebastian Bach, whose harmonic rigour seems to have provided the basis for bebop and all that followed. Listen to the endlessly mutating semiquavers tumbling from Charlie Parker’s saxophone and it could be the top line of a Bach fantasia; the jolting cycle of chords in John Coltrane’s Giant Steps could come straight from a Bach fugue and Bach’s contrapuntal techniques crop up in countless jazz pianists, from Bill Evans to Nina Simone. Bach certainly casts a long shadow over US pianist Brad Mehldau: even when he’s gently mutilating pieces by Radiohead, Nick Drake or the Beatles, he sounds like Glenn Gould ripping into the Goldberg Variations. Which is why it comes as no surprise to see Mehldau recording an entire album inspired by Bach. However, this is not a jazz album. Instead of riffing on Bach themes, as the likes of Jacques Loussier or the Modern Jazz Quartet have done in the past, After Bach sees Mehldau using Bach’s methodology. Mehldau plays five of Bach’s canonic 48 Preludes and Fugues, each followed by his own modern 21st-century response.
"The trees are coming into leaf/Like something almost being said." Taking a cue from these lines of Philip Larkin, pianist Simone Dinnerstein casts her album of the music of J.S. Bach and Franz Schubert in poetic terms. Her understanding of the composers is summed up in her own words: "The music of Bach and Schubert share a distinctive quality, as if wordless voices were singing textless melodies." Of course, Bach and Schubert were masters of setting texts to profoundly expressive music, so it is fruitful to look for the lyrical impulse in their keyboard works and appropriate to find songful interpretations. Yet Dinnerstein doesn't merely serve up rhapsodic renditions or treat the music as some kind of tuneful vehicle for idiosyncratic or personal reveries. Her playing is quite in character for both composers, and her treatment of the material is far from self-indulgent. Indeed, counterpoint and harmony are carefully balanced against the upper lines, and Dinnerstein is completely in control of the inner parts in Bach's partitas and the rhythmic subtleties of Schubert impromptus. Dinnerstein's playing is well-rounded and skillful, and the care she lavishes on the smallest details of execution may well remind listeners of Glenn Gould (without his attendant eccentricities) or Angela Hewitt.
The chamber orchestra Cappella Istropolitana was established in 1983. The musicians have in common their delight in making music and their enthusiasm for collective playing in a small ensemble. Most of them are both renowned experienced chamber musicians and soloists. The name ”Cappella Istropolitana” is derived from the Latin word Istropolis – town on the Danube.
Since the beginning of it’s existence in 1960, the Slovak Chamber Orchestra has developed into one of the most popular ensembles in the field of classical music in Slovakia, and into one of the principal representatives of the Slovak interpretation art abroad. The idea of founding a string orchestra has risen in the mind of Prof. Bohdan Warchal in the late 50-s, while still a member of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra.