George Rochberg's Nach Bach,
Fantasy for harpsichord or piano (1966)
George Rochberg's Nach Bach, Fantasy for harpsichord or piano was composed in 1966 for the harpsichordist Igor Kipnis. It is a 'musical commentary' on J.S. Bach's Partita in E minor BWV 830 - the first piano work by Rochberg in which he explores the use of pre-existing material on a single pre-existing source. Having been composed at the same time as Rochberg's collage works (Music for the Magic Theatre, Contra Mortem et Tempus, both of 1965), Nach Bach shares many things in common with the compositional technique in these works and subsequently with the practice of collage. Nach Bach is a fragmented collage of contrary tendencies, a juxtaposition of quotations by Bach, or Bach-inspired gestures, with free atonality.
The following projects have arised out of my research and practical exploration with this work in regards with the relationship of Nach Bach with Bach's Partita in E minor - from both a conceptual and technical perspective. Some projects attempt to encircle Nach Bach within the content and context of its original source - Bach's Partita. Other projects target to project Nach Bach for what it is - a container of short, fragmented gestures of a musically bipolar nature. All projects deal with the choice of resolving, or not, the inherited tension of the two opposites in Nach Bach, and consequently, the different ways that it can be resolved.
I. J.S. Bach, 'Toccata' (Partita in E minor)
George Rochberg, Nach Bach (1966)
J.S. Bach, 'Allemande' (Partita in E minor)
Banff Centre of Arts (Canada), January 2014
Zach Miley, sound engineer
II. George Rochberg, Nach Bach (1966)
J.S. Bach, 'Sarabande' (Partita in E minor)
Live at the Banff Centre of Arts (Canada), March 2015
III. George Rochberg, Nach Bach (1966)
Banff Centre of Arts (Canada), February 2017
Lucie Bourely, sound engineer