Tuesday, February 28, 2023

post-plague Bach project

Plague Year(s) Bach Project, 3-year anniversary

Three years after starting the Plague Year Bach Project, I'm not convinced that the pandemic is over, but I do realise that in the absence of lockdowns I'm not making much progress with memorising the suites. With everything else going on (and my shoulder still playing up sometimes), one movement per month (or two months) has turned into half a movement in four months, so I guess it's time to make a new plan.

I now have six movements that I can play from memory, so I'll keep these on the revision cycle to make sure they stay in my memory. They tend to survive my occasional 10-day trips abroad, but I would forget them if I stopped playing on the timescale of months.

memory list:
1.3 Courante
1.4 Sarabande
1.5 Minuet I&II- VIDEO
1.6 Gigue
2.5 Minuet I&II
3.5 Bourree I&II - VIDEO

And the other part of my daily Bach practice / meditation will be sight-reading of one of the six movements I had (partially) memorised before, just keeping the vague familiarity, without keeping the notes in my head. Making more regular use of sight-reading should also be beneficial for my orchestral adventures and chamber music ambitions.

reading list:
2.4 Sarabande
2.6 Gigue
3.4 Sarabande
3.6. Gigue
4.3. Courante
4.5. Bourree I & II

I still haven't got much patience for these two, but might retry them once in a while (would be nice to be able to play the entire first suite):
1.1. Prelude
1.2 Allemande

A Westbury cello I spotted in a charity shop earlier this month and considered buying (as old Heinrich will at some point run off with the young cellist). I played some fragments of Bach suites in the shop. It did sound lovely and looked unused, which is a bit of a tragedy. After some consideration, I think I'll hold out for an old and battered instrument that needs rescuing. I am also making progress with the old family fiddle (blog entry coming up tomorrow), so if and when I end up without a cello in the house I still have some strings to scratch with a bow.

PS In these last 3 years of daily cello practice I have also managed to use up the first new bow hair that we put on Heinrich's old bow back in 2009. As the young cellist uses a different bow, this is exclusively my work - and I will have a go at replacing it myself.

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