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Welcome to A Moment of Bach, where we take our favorite moments from J. S Bach's vast output—just a minute's worth or even a few seconds—and show you why we think they are remarkable. Join hosts Alex Guebert and Christian Guebert for weekly moments! Check wherever podcasts are available and subscribe for upcoming episodes. Our recording samples are provided by the Netherlands Bach Society. Their monumental All of Bach project (to perform and record all of the works of J. S. Bach) serves as s ...
 
************************************************* Ab Frühjahr 2012 geht das AL´HACA Soundsystem mit Euch auf eine audiophile Tauchfahrt in die unendlichen Tiefen des Dub-Ozeans und fördert dabei seidig schimmerndes Perlmutt ins Scheinwerferlicht des Sub-BASS-marines. Umgeben von einer Halo aus Echowellen ist das Missionsziel der Reise durch Klang-Räume und -Zeiten dabei klar definiert: das Aufspüren und Einsammeln auch der marginalsten Dub-Spuren am Rand der Wahrnehmung. Das Forscherteam, be ...
 
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show series
 
In our season finale before we take a break and return early next year, we celebrate the first season’s wrap! For this "Bachtoberfest," we talk Coffee Cantata, German beer, and all things A Moment of Bach. We answer a bunch of listener questions about our own musicmaking processes and history with Bach, and we get deep into some listener ideas. Spe…
 
Today we are joined by Dr. William Heide, longtime music minister at St. John's Lutheran Church, Orange, CA -- as well as a longtime Bach expert. He has conducted over 60 full Bach cantatas in concerts spanning the three decades of his tenure at St. John's. The three of us chat about the lasting power of this particular work, in which the soloist s…
 
A short, simple piece for a solo instrument -- only 35 seconds long. Yet it has captured the imaginations of so many people: musicians, philosophers, artists, mathematicians, and more. It's all because of the unique cleverness of Bach -- showing us here that he can construct a piece that can be played forwards OR backwards... OR both at the same ti…
 
The organ is an instrument built into a building. Selecting a variety of sounds for an organ composition which requires more than two is a new task on each different organ, and the varieties and combinations are essentially endless. In this chorale prelude in "trio" texture, three distinct organ sounds make up the musical texture, each with a disti…
 
Alex spends one more episode excitedly leading us through some of his favorite music, this time from the "Et in terra pax" movement. Picking up from where last episode left off, we talk about the beauty and simplicity of the main melody of "Et in terra pax", which Bach cleverly reuses as a fugue subject a bit later. This is classic Bach -- elegant …
 
"Glory to God in the highest!" The orchestra and choir burst with excitement and joy. Alex and Christian talk about the beauty of the Latin language, the huge orchestra (which seems actually pretty small by today's standards), the Protestant Reformation, and somehow Christian even gets a tuba joke in there. Alex talks us through his favorite moment…
 
In the second half of a two-part mini-series, Christian picks up where we left off and covers moments from movements three through five of the cantata Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir (BWV 131). At the end of this episode, we play for you all five moments in order. If you haven't listened to episode 30, you should start there. This very early …
 
For our thirtieth(!) episode, we celebrate by taking a five-movement cantata and giving you one moment from each. This will be a two-part series; this episode introduces the cantata and delves into Christian's moments from the first two movements, while next week we'll see his moments for movements 3-5. This very early work uses arcane sounds and w…
 
What is the "flow state"? The answer can be heard in this performance of Bach's "Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue" by Menno van Delft. So deeply "in the zone" of playing this piece, he demonstrates what so many professional musicians can do after practicing a piece for so many hours: the muscle memory kicks in and the piece just plays itself, with the …
 
The harsh musical interval of the tritone, the "Diabolus in Musica" (devil in music), was strictly controlled in much of early music. So wouldn't it be striking and bold to make a melody out of two of them? In this scary cantata opening, Bach does exactly this to set a terrifying fugue on the words "They have made their faces harder than a rock" to…
 
Bach died on July 28, 1750, leaving behind a staggering 1,100 complete musical works, some comprised of many separate movements of music. Today we honor the 271th anniversary of Bach's death -- by digging into the double choir motet Komm, Jesu, komm. We talk about funeral music, Pascal's Wager, the "angry" interval of the diminished 7th, and the sp…
 
What is it that makes some magical moments of music feel like freefall or floating? What is it that makes some moments feel like firm, steady ground? The key is in the bass -- the lowest part of the music, which (by Bach's time) had developed a foundational role in all current musical styles. Listen here how Bach takes a firmly grounded bass line a…
 
One of the most beloved arias of all time, "Erbarme dich" ("Have mercy on me") comes straight from the contrite heart of Peter, the disciple of Jesus, on Good Friday. After denying Christ three times, he realized his sin, and "went out and wept bitterly". The violin solo represents the anguish of Peter's soul at this moment. Bach scores the emotion…
 
In our first episode about the monumental Goldberg Variations, Christian shows how to break down a canon (round). Unlike "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," the two parts in this canon do not start on the same note. But we can also learn about how this canon was written by using a different perspective entirely. The recipe is simple: start with a very simpl…
 
A solitary voice: "I believe in one God." Then a second voice: "I believe in one God." Then another, then another, then another: "I believe in one God..." soon the whole room is full of people confessing their shared faith. Bach sets this simple text (the beginning of the Nicene Creed) to a simple seven-note tune, but spirals it out into a seven-vo…
 
In this short bonus episode, we continue our discussion with Alec but go into greater technical detail. At the beginning Christian narrates the topics for discussion to come. To hear Alec play through the minuets uninterrupted, go to the main Episode 22 at 57:25. To get more context for this bonus episode, we recommend you first listen to Episode 2…
 
Our second guest Alec Santamaria brings his viola to show us how violists can play the Bach cello suites! We delve into tuning for baroque music, perfect pitch, the viola and aspects of its technique when playing Bach, and Alec’s narration of his “moments” from the most famous part of any of the suites -- the G major prelude (and other topics too!)…
 
Join us as we uncover the complexity under the surface of the seemingly simple music of Bach's English Suite in A major. The harpsichord is an elegant yet austere instrument. It has only a fraction of the power and versatility of a pipe organ, and none of the soft/loud sensitivity of the piano, yet, it is elegant in its simplicity. We remark on how…
 
What is counterpoint? What’s a fugue, and why is that musical structure so tied to the idea of Bach’s work? The answer lies not only in the most towering and imposing works of fugue, but also the most simple and graceful. This early wedding cantata features a small moment of fugue so sublimely perfect that it seems like it must have always existed.…
 
Our first guest episode! We chat about one of the greatest and most enduring pieces of music ever written, "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring." Eric Clausen, a Lutheran pastor and Alex and Christian's brother-in-law, shares his perspective on church music and how this piece became so meaningful for him. We talk about Bach's life as a church musician, how …
 
The orchestra is full of countless sound combinations. In Bach's time, the orchestra was smaller and these new expressions mostly hadn't yet been explored. But in the "Wohl euch" aria from the Pentecost cantata O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe, Bach experimented with a new language in tone color with violins and flutes. The Pentecost story of t…
 
You will be humming this one for days! Even if you didn't know of this particular aria before hearing this episode of A Moment of Bach, it's impossible not to be charmed by this sprightly tune on a first listen. But there is also some fury and swift anger in the music -- the words are "Give me my Jesus back!" and they are shouted at the soldiers wh…
 
Let's call this one "How to Break a Chorale."A Bach chorale is a pure, simple expression of a hymn tune. Sometimes it contains complex harmony, but the harmony is always in support of a song that the people knew, and the texture is simple and chordal. This is why today's moment feels like a bolt of lightning from the blue! It's a chorale for a few …
 
It's our third and last episode of the Brandenburg 3 miniseries. The last movement of Brandenburg 3 is full of nonstop excitement and rhythmic drive. Come with us as we talk about the complexity (and simplicity!) of the rhythmic layers, and the way that inverted chords breathe fresh life into the music, and the moment -- the moment we both picked -…
 
For our second installment in the Brandenburg Concerto 3 miniseries, Christian describes the whole 20-second middle movement: chord 1, chord 2. Well...no, that isn't the whole story. We will uncover much more than meets the eye in this shortest of all Bach movements. It's an automatic "moment" -- no cutting or zooming in necessary. Brandenburg 3 mv…
 
Welcome to our miniseries on Brandenburg Concerto No. 3! In this first episode, we will talk about the first movement. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos are considered by many to be the pinnacle of instrumental Baroque music. Come and join us as we explore why. Alex's "moment of Bach" comes near the end of the first movement, when the music gets a littl…
 
Don't you just "know" when someone has put good work into a product just from your first experience with it? We think this is why Bach never feels lazy. While Bach excels at portraying a shepherd's pasture with music, we hear how some contemporary examples from film and TV are so much more widely varied in quality. Bach's musical pasture is so idyl…
 
"Stay with us, for night is falling..." Happy Easter Monday! Today's moment comes from the Easter Monday cantata "Bleib bei uns" ("Stay with us"). The music is inspired by the story of the two disciples who met a stranger along the road as night was falling. The twist ending of this story makes us look back on the moment a little differently. "Stay…
 
In our tenth episode, we celebrate the genesis of this podcast's main premise. Using a humble and unassuming bit of connecting music from the St. Matthew Passion, Christian shows how Bach portrayed the soul swimming in tears. Love emerges victorious in the last line, where the music reaches a shimmering conclusion. "How can we talk about moments li…
 
In our ninth episode, we take our first look at the beloved St. Matthew Passion. Staggering in its emotional scope, this work tells the complete story of Jesus's suffering and death (from the Gospel of Matthew -- in German!), interspersed with personal reflections. Hearing this music, it is as if you are transported -- you are there, at the cross. …
 
In our eighth episode, a very young Bach employs old funereal recorders and viols for maximum heartstring-pulling effect in one of the most sublime few minutes of music: the opening sonatina of the cantata Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (God's time is the very best time). The cantata, also known as Actus tragicus, is a masterwork from beginnin…
 
In our seventh episode, we find lots of remarkable moments from Bach's 11-movement choral masterwork "Jesu, meine Freude". Alex describes his favorite moment: the end of movement 9 ("Gute Nacht"), when all the wandering voices slow down and come to rest on a single, solitary note. We also explore some new ways to listen to music that has multiple v…
 
In our sixth episode, we marvel at the simple beauty of the C major Prelude, one of the most recognizable pieces of all time. Why is this keyboard exercise pattern with apparently no melody so famous and captivating? Christian unpacks its structure by looking not for a moment in the middle, but instead where the end and beginning seem to touch. Pre…
 
In our fifth episode, the church organ comes alive! Alex guides us through the journey of the Passacaglia in C minor -- starting with a hushed, low tune, and expanding into an epic finale that could shake a cathedral. Passacaglia played by Reitze Smits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzBXZ__LN_M And played by Cathedral Bells: https://www.youtube.c…
 
In our fourth episode, Christian introduces the opening of the Magnificat. No expense was spared in Bach’s triumphant and expressive Magnificat, including a force of three trumpets and timpani. Christian uses the Magnificat opening to introduce the baroque trumpet, an instrument very different from the modern-day version. Magnificat: https://www.ba…
 
In our third episode, Alex introduces one of Bach's most beloved church cantatas: "Wachet auf" -- "Wake up!" The watchmen on the tower are calling! At a certain magical moment, Bach removes the bass instruments so we can hear the bright, ringing voices announcing that Christ is coming to the world. Alex also describes the beauty of the rest of the …
 
In our second episode, Christian introduces the royal processional of the cantata Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland. We celebrate the launch of the podcast with this cantata for the new church year, an early Bach work. But the "moment" is hidden later on, where the young Bach uses an experimental sound: a knock at the door from plucked strings with an u…
 
Zonic stellt Euch heute ein Set von Flavio Diners vor. Hinter dem Pseudonym verbirgt sich der Thüringer Winfried Ruebsam, Produzent und Labelmitbegründer von Palham Music. Sein vielseitiges Set präsentiert subtilen Dubstep und Electronica mit einer guten Prise afrikanisch inspirierter Rhythmen und wird Anfang Mai in leicht modifizierter Version auf…
 
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