Wine in New Bottles -about the Tokyo BACH-BAND-
Bach (1685-1750) lived during the same time as Tokugawa, Yoshimune
the 8th Shogun of Japan (1683-1751). Bach's legacy of great music
has been treasured by everyone, performers and listeners, up to
the present day. Modern wind instruments, however, were a product
of the Industrial Revolution. During the nineteenth century, constant
mechanical refinements were taking place on these instruments,
and it wasn't until the beginning of the twentieth century that
these mechanisms were finally standardized.
This has caused
a dilemma for musicians who have long desired to play Bach's original
scores on modern day wind and brass instruments. It may be possible
for a piece written by Bach for a single string instrument to
be played by a single wind instrument, which can cover the same
range of the original one and with the player's strong artistic
devotion. But biologically speaking, this wind player would have
to be an ultra -super human being to knock off such a piece in
its entirety, which has no rests at all during the course of its
several pages long first movement, followed endlessly by the other
similar movements. Many of us can not make it, or would have already
got knocked off in our brief playing career.
We all know
that J.S. Bach himself often transcribed pieces written for one
instrument to another instrument. For example, when his E major
Violin Concerto BWV-1042 became a Harpsichord Concerto BWV-1054,
the key was changed to D major to get more sonority. And the 3
-notes theme for violin was turned into a 9-notes theme for harpsichord.
Because of the instrumental nature, a harpsichord could not sustain
a single note long enough to carry on his phrasing forward as
he wished. It seeems Bach did not demand harpsichord to be an
ultra-super one, but sensitively understood the nature of the
If the Industrial
Revolution had occured 250 years earlier, and if he were familiar
with our modern winds and brass, would he have transcribed a single
string instrumental piece to a single wind instrumental piece?
May be with a plentiful amount of rest? At the same time, one
wonders if J.S.Bach had been borne in 1935 instead of 1685, would
he have refused to have his music played by Segovia's guitar?
Or would he have prohibited the sales of Glen Gould's Goldberg
Variations compact disc because they are not played by a lute,
viola da gamba, or cembalo?
facts, questions, and a dream to play Bach's music with our biological
nature, the concept of the BACH-BAND was born. It is designed
to be a time machine to fly back to the days of Bach, or further
more into his heart with our modern wind and brass instruments.
of the BACH-BAND consists of those instruments considered to be
the furthest removed from Bach's original instrumentation. The
BACH-BAND employs clarinets, saxophones, trumpets(cornet/flugel
horn),horn,euphonium, trombone, tuba and string bass. When the
group is expanded to ful size, the number of players in the band
is 13 to 14, like that of W.A.Mozart's Grand Partita, K.361, or
the R.Strauss's 13 winds Serenade, op.7. The function of each
13 or 14 soloists in this ensemble is just the same as that of
a big band in jazz.
of Tokyo BACH-BAND were realized into live sound for the first
time, with the heartful support and care of Michio SUGIHARA, in
December of 1993 at the Bach-Hall in Miyagi, Japan, on land once
governed by the 15 successive Shoguns.