Inspiring Bach

Inspiring Bach


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Johann Pachelbel (1653 – 1706) Gott sei uns gnädig

Johann Christoph Bach (1642 – 1703) Ach daß ich Wassers g’nug hätte

Sebastian Knüpfer (1633 – 1676) Die Turteltaube lässt sich hören

Dietrich Buxtehude (1637 – 1707) Sonata a2 BuxWV 272 

Johann Christoph Bach (1642 – 1703) Es erhub sich ein Streit 

For this concert, we have chosen composers and music collected or admired by Johann Sebastian Bach.  The works include those of Johann Christoph Bach – in JS Bach’s estimation the most musically ‘profound’ of his ancestors, whose music was collected in the famous Altbachiches Archiv; Sebastian Knüpfer, a predecessor of JS Bach as Kantor of the Thomaskirche, who ignited the musical explosion that took place in Leipzig in the mid-1600s; Johann Pachelbel, a master organist and close friend of the Bach family; and Dietrich Buxtehude, pre-eminent Danish organist and the musician the young Johann Sebastian sought out to be his tutor. 

Inspiring Bach is part of an ongoing exploration of the techniques and sounds known to every musician and music listener before the middle of the 19th century. Spiritato first started on this path with a project entitled Guts and Glory in 2016. Now, in a wonderful development, we’ve spent the last three days immersing ourselves once again, in the unique sounds and lost aesthetics of the mid-17th century, joined by The Marian Consort. 

We’re using natural trumpets with large mouthpieces and no finger holes or valves to help us change the notes. The string players are using equal tension; each string being made from differing thicknesses of gut. The vocalists are confronting and musically negotiating these idiosyncrasies in many cases for the very first time. These methods call for big changes in how we approach not just our music but the very nature of working together as an ensemble.

As always, the balance of budget and artistic endeavor makes for an interesting challenge (and it is certainly not an exclusively modern problem). However, rather than play music we know, on instruments that give us the biggest degree of safety – for reputations are fragile, ‘time is money’ and no-one should be blamed for using any means available to guarantee that last high-note… - we have chosen to look afresh at how we perform. This is not a route easily taken, and perhaps many feel need not be chosen at all. However, why should we always play it safe? 

These are words we may come to regret…! Yet if in searching for a stronger flavour of the world from which our repertoire comes, our performance can entertain, excite or intrigue you, perhaps we can unlock a wider curiosity in these methods, creating a greater demand for challenging convention. 

After all, not that long ago, even the idea of ‘historically informed performance’ was considered scandalous.


The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation

The Leche Trust

Music Reprival Trust

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Dynamic period instrument ensemble - we play music with guts!

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