While you read the following article why not listen to my e-baroque compositions – just click on the box below:
or if techno music is more your cup of tea here are my techno/ambient compositions:
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I was hoping to be able to share with you pictures of me and the band looking for Easter eggs in the garden in this week’s blog but we woke up this morning to discover it had snowed overnight – hence a little change of plan. The ‘Bunny’ decided that the chocs and other goodies would be hidden inside the studio this year. However I did catch one shot of the Easter Bunny trying to break in:
Yes its already April and we are still getting snow in the Bavarian Alps. I took these shots of the local hills from my apartment this morning:
However as you will see later in the blog the Bavarian weather is very changeable at this time of year. If you ever visit this region in April it is a good idea to pack both your thermals & ski goggles as well as your shorts & sunglasses.
For those readers who are not aware of what a musical canon is let me provide a simple explanation. Many of us, when we were in school, learned to sing the French song ‘Frère Jacques‘ (or ‘Brother Jacob’ in English):
First Line: Frère Jacques, frère Jacques,
Second Line: Dormez-vous ? Dormez-vous ?
Third Line: Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines!
Fourth Line: Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.
At my school the children were divided into four groups and group 1 started singing first. When group 1 moved onto the second line group 2 started singing the first line. As group 1 moved onto the 3rd line group 3 started singing the first line. As group 1 moved onto the 4th line group 4 started singing the first line.
In this way the 4 groups are singing different words and different notes but they all blend in nicely together to create a pleasant overall effect.
This is a musical canon.
Toward’s the end of the 17th Century (possibly 1694) Pachelbel composed his Canon which was written for three violin parts. As with Frère Jacques the first violin starts playing and after a couple of bars the second violin follows by repeating the same sequence. After another couple of bars the third violin starts. Throughout the piece the three violins effectively chase each other by playing the same music but at slightly different times. The overall effect is a very pleasant piece of music which is very popular at weddings. In fact many people who hear the music probably don’t even realise it is a canon!
Although I am sure many readers will have heard this piece of music I am certain very few will have heard of the German composer Pachelbel. Like many baroque composers he was very famous in his time and then disappeared for over a century to be rediscovered long after his death. Pachelbel was, however, very influential. In addition to being a capable composer he was also the music teacher of Johann Christoph Bach the elder brother of Johann Sebastian Bach. It is thought by some that Pachelbel actually composed his canon to be played at Johann Christoph Bach’s wedding in 1694. If this is the case he probably met the 9 year old Johann Sebastian. Johann Sebastian Bach was taught music by his elder brother Johann Christian who had been taught by Pachelbel. Therefore Pachelbel will have indirectly influenced the early compositions of J.S.Bach (if you are interested in the music of J.S. Bach please see my interpretation of his Toccata and Fugue which is featured here).
In addition to having three violin parts which play the same music, albeit with a slight delay, Pachelbel also cleverly added a simple two bar bass part which continues unchanged right until the end. To help listeners identify it I have played this part using an (unmistakable sounding!) synthesizer at the beginning of my interpretation. This somewhat unconventional baroque instrument stops after a couple of bars to be replaced by a more normal sounding bass instrument.
Here is my interpretation:
I think this is the first of my Baroque interpretations that I have produced in all three of my VALIUMM studios (Table Mountain in South Africa, Surrey in England and the Bavarian Alps). As I travel a great deal I try to make sure I can keep working on my music by duplicating my recording facilities around the world. My main selection criteria for each location is that: a) it needs to be near to a good international airport (Cape Town, Heathrow and Munich) and b) it must have inspiring views. Here are some photos of the facilities in the Alps taken two days ago (on Good Friday):
Interestingly the above three photographs were taken only two days before the pictures at the top of this blog article. On good Friday I had all the windows open and we had sunny weather suitable for wearing shorts. Today is Easter Sunday and I certainly have several extra layers of clothing on!
By the way the mountain in the pictures above, the Wendelstein, is the largest mountain in this part of the Bavarian Alps. It actually has (on the other side) Germany’s oldest ‘track’ railway so if you are in this region it is well worth a trip to the top.
Actually the clouds are very low today so I can’t actually see the mountains. I suspect when they reappear they will have a little more snow compared with two days ago.
Dog Fleas and Canine Launderettes
During the week I came across an interesting report in the Alpine Press and decided to translate the salient points in a separate article. It you are interested to learn why around 25 dogs a day can be found in washing machines in a Tel Aviv ‘Launderette’ and how you can get a wash and blow job with a flea and tick rinse for 20 Shekels please take a look at my article here.
So that’s it for this week. Easter greetings from the Alps – have a great week ahead (and if you missed it my version of a beautiful piece of music which is performed in the Sistine Chapel at this time of year can be found here).