English Chess Forum

A home for discussions on the English Chess scene.
It is currently Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:42 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:53 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:34 pm
Posts: 759
Location: Twickenham
I just came across this - a jazz arrangement of Bach's Goldberg Variations with a chess theme.

Anyone heard it? What do you think?

I see there are extracts on YouTube.

_________________
http://www.chesskids.org.uk
http://www.richardjames.org.uk


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:07 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:33 am
Posts: 357
Location: Coventry
It seems very expensive Richard! :shock:

_________________
"Tactics flow naturally from a superior strategical position".
Bobby Fischer


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:11 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:24 pm
Posts: 1001
Presumably this is the late John Lewis, pianist for many years with the MJQ (Modern Jazz Quartet). I used to like MJQ - about forty years ago or more - when I was starting to appreciate jazz, or what I took for jazz at the time. Lewis & MJQ carved out a niche among cerebral white undergraduates for whom Thelonious Monk was too awkward; Oscar Peterson, too accessible; and Bill Evans, too demanding. MJQ hit just the right note of classical austerity without ever succumbing to the messy passions of jazz in the raw. One could like both Bach and MJQ, and feel effortlessly superior in one's geeky 'knowing-ness'.

Then paths diverged. Some (including myself) would move on to explore 'proper jazz', the authentic music rooted in the Blues, and expressed by (principally black) artists with (one assumed) some political affinity with the origins of the Blues, black oppression, and black cultural celebration. Others however stayed with a hybrid jazz-classical fusion, of the MJQ & John Lewis were the principal exponents (eg. Blues on Bach). But Dave Brubeck dabbled too; and lower down the food chain still, you find Jacques Loussier and his 'jazzified' Bach etc.

As far as I'm aware, MJQ broke up about 1980; and John Lewis settled into a solo career. His 'schtik' remained jazz fusion, producing a collection of pieces based on Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. I was completely unaware of the material in question, based on 'the Goldies'. In fact I wasn't sure John Lewis was still alive ten years ago. This material looks very 'late career' therefore.

What's it like? I've no idea directly. If you like jazzed-up classical music, I imagine it will be an excellent example of the genre. But frankly, I don't like it. One's tastes and discernment mature over the years. Give me authentic jazz at any time. Give me authentic Bach by the CD-load. But please don't mix the two. And leave the Goldberg Variations alone. This is sublime music, and doesn't need messing with.

As for the chess theme, it smacks of substantial pretentiousness to me. The last thing the Goldies need is added intellectual freight. They cannot be improved upon.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:55 pm 
Online

Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:06 am
Posts: 2301
David Robertson wrote:
it smacks of substantial pretentiousness to me


Isn't that what jazz is for?

_________________
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:12 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:34 pm
Posts: 759
Location: Twickenham
You can hear it here. Very pretty but I didn't quite see the point.

Yes, it is that John Lewis (certainly not John Spedan Lewis). He did this with The Well-Tempered Clavier - and I have no idea what this has to do with Bridge either.

Uri Caine's Goldbergs are worth listening to, though.

_________________
http://www.chesskids.org.uk
http://www.richardjames.org.uk


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:23 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:51 pm
Posts: 1278
Location: Millom, Cumbria
Of course, the chess connections of the aforementioned J S Lewis are also well known......

_________________
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:32 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:34 pm
Posts: 759
Location: Twickenham
Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Of course, the chess connections of the aforementioned J S Lewis are also well known......


Of course. That's why I mentioned him! :)

_________________
http://www.chesskids.org.uk
http://www.richardjames.org.uk


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:17 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:24 pm
Posts: 1001
JustinHorton wrote:
David Robertson wrote:
it smacks of substantial pretentiousness to me


Isn't that what jazz is for?

It's not me you need to ask. Try asking Charles Mingus. I'll happily [s]scrape you off the wall afterwards[/s]** hold your coat.

Talking of Charles Mingus, he has in my opinion, along with Edward 'Duke' Ellington, an outstanding claim to be the finest American composer of serious music of the 20th century - Gershwin, Bernstein, Barber, Ives included. He was trained in classical bass. But because of racial discrimination (Mingus was of mixed heritage; hence treated as 'black'), he was unable to secure orchestral employment, and turned to jazz. Our good fortune! Take a listen to the opening track off his 1959 Blues & Roots album, Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting. This isn't pretentious, surely?

(** hhmm...doesn't do 'strike-through' code. Anyway, you get the gist)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:41 pm 
Online

Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:06 am
Posts: 2301
David Robertson wrote:
It's not me you need to ask. Try asking Charles Mingus. I'll happily [s]scrape you off the wall afterwards[/s]** hold your coat.


I'm sure he could take me, but could he take Jimmy Rabbitte?

_________________
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:12 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:58 am
Posts: 219
Location: Kingston-under-Thames
Speaking of John Lewis, this day marks the anniversary of the destruction in 1940 of The National Chess Centre in London by enemy action during The Blitz.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: JustinHorton and 6 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group