Eliot Fisk plays Bach (BWV 1001,1002 &1003)




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Published on Dec 3, 2014

Eliot Fisk plays Bach sonatas BWV 1001,1002 & 1003

Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and hundreds of cantatas. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.

Bach was born in Eisenach, Saxe-Eisenach, into a great musical family. His father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, was the director of the town musicians, and all of his uncles were professional musicians. His father probably taught him to play the violin and harpsichord, and his brother, Johann Christoph Bach, taught him the clavichord and exposed him to much contemporary music. Apparently at his own initiative, Bach attended St. Michael's School in Lüneburg for two years. After graduating he held several musical posts across Germany: he served as Kapellmeister (director of music) to Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, Cantor of the Thomasschule in Leipzig, and Royal Court Composer to Augustus III. Bach's health and vision declined in 1749, and he died on 28 July 1750. Modern historians believe that his death was caused by a combination of stroke and pneumonia

Bach's abilities as an organist were respected throughout Europe during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the nineteenth century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

In article after article, the one thing that is always mentioned in addition to Eliot Fisk's skills as a guitarist and transcriber is his commitment to music as a changing force in peoples' lives. He firmly and enthusiastically advocates more teaching of music in schools and more active community involvement by musicians. He himself gives recitals at schools, prisons, retirement homes, and other community institutions whenever his concert and teaching schedules allow it. This dedication is credited to his upbringing in a Quaker home. His father bought both a banjo and a guitar for seven-year-old Fisk, hoping that Fisk would like one of the instruments. Fisk settled on the guitar and virtually taught himself to play, spending hours practicing each day as a teenager. He took a bachelor's and master's degree in music from Yale, where he studied with harpsichordists Ralph Kirkpatrick and Albert Fuller. His guitar teachers included Oscar Ghiglia and Alirio Diaz, but his mentor was Andrés Segovia. Fisk's talent was so admired by Segovia that the latter's widow gave Fisk the exclusive first rights to perform and record some of Segovia's compositions that were found in the mid-1990s. That album, Segovia -- Canciones Populares, became one of Billboard's Classical Chart best-sellers. What makes Fisk stand out as a performer are his passionate, intense playing, whether it be Bach or Scarlatti, Berio or Rochberg, and his transcriptions that remain true to the original works' musical intentions, but are idiomatic of the guitar. His recording of the Paganini's Caprices (24) was called "daring" and also became a best-seller. Many of his transcriptions are of Baroque works, but he has also performed the music of Mozart and Haydn. In addition to the works dedicated to him by Berio and Rochberg, Fisk has also premiered new works for guitar by Ernesto Halffter, Robert Beaser, and Leonardo Balada. Fisk performs as much chamber music as he does concerto or solo music, most frequently with flutist Paula Robison, but also with string quartets, flamenco guitarist Paco Peña, vocalist Ute Lemper, and Turkish music specialist Burhan Öçal. Shortly after graduating from Yale, Fisk was asked to help establish that school's guitar program. He has taught at the Cologne Hochschule für Musik, and in 1989 started teaching at the Salzburg Mozarteum and at the New England Conservatory since 1996.


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