Bach Cage/Chorale

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Excerpt from "One 8" for Violoncello solo by John Cage
Suites No. 1 – No. 6 for Violoncello solo by Johann Sebastian Bach
Choral "Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her"
Choral "Gelobt sei Gott im höchsten Thron"
Choral "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden"

Johann Sebastian Bach’s suites for cello solo are arguably the purest form of music, works that require no explanation or background knowledge. Johann Sebastian Bach made one of his most profound affirmations, a Gradus ad Parnassum, which in six stages sets out an intellectual and technical challenge that is and will probably remain peerless in the history of music for our instrument. My colleague and friend, Prof. Peter Langgartner from the Mozarteum University of Salzburg pointed out to me that the Prelude of the first suite contains Luther’s chorale “Vom Himmel hoch, da komm’ ich her” (from Heaven above, from thence I come). I had always presumed so and was grateful for confirmation that the cello suites make allusions to chorales and religious messages. I have therefore found a musical way of opening a spiritual door to the suites and added chorales to Suites 1, 3, and 5 in the mould of sounds from John Cage’s work One 8, chorales that in my opinion are definitely consistent with messages conveyed in the suites. I find that John Cage’s music shares similarities with Bach’s. His music allows for inner reflection, providing a contemplative point of calm. Cage said the purpose of music is “to cleanse the soul and bring it peace, thus making it amenable to divine nfluences”. My son Immanuel intones the chorales to this special music; each chorale is followed by two Bach suites.
Julius Berger

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