Dedicated to classics and hits.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hit Songs: Johann Sebastian Bach - Cello Suites Prelude

Johann Sebastian Bach

Cello Suites, solo compositions written for cello
by Johann Sebastian Bach
originally published 1717-1723

  Johann Sebastian Bach is a pre-modern musician, but his music successfully made the transition to the modern era with a large, current Audience that continues to exist.  Bach died in 1750, so his life span runs from the end of the 17th century into the middle of the 18th century.  Joseph Haydn wouldn't make the critical step to mass international acclaim until after Johann Sebastian Bach died, but Bach was a beneficiary of this achievement regardless.   Bach is certainly more popular TODAY than Joseph Hayden.  Bach has some 20 million total Last Fm listens, vs. Haydn with 1/10th the Audience.  It's no accident that Bach was included in the initial creation of "Classical Music" as a category.

  According to Spotify, the most popular Bach "song" is the Prelude from his Cello Suites.  The Cello suites are generally considered to be 6 individual compositions for the solo Cello.  The prelude is well known for its use of arpeggiated chords (as are the Smiths, or electronic music Artists.)  And the tune of the Prelude to Cello Suites is instantly recognizable to anyone who has been alive in the last 20 years.  The Prelude also happens to be under three minutes long, which is uncanny considering the Symphonies that were to command Audience attention after Bach's death.

  Johann Sebastian Bach had a significant "revival" a re-occurring phenomenon in Artistic communities of all types where the size of Audience for a specific Artists goes up decades after the initial publication of the Artists work.  A well documented example of this phenomenon is the multiple Jane Austen revivals in the 19th and 20th century.

  Bach was always a hired hand, working for a Church or School.  His career progression was from Church, to Government positions to the Court of Royalty as an appointed Court musician, and in this aspect Bach is firmly pre-modern.  Bach did not possess the contractual independence that Joseph Haydn achieved at the end of the 18th century.

  This Youtube video of Johann Sebastian Bach's cello suites prelude being peformend has 10 million views.

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