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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

More about (from) Bob Scandrett

As I mentioned in the previous post, Bob was an excellent pianist who was still working in the Bach Goldberg variations.

Here's a note he put up on Jeremy Denk's blog (Denk, a wonderful pianist, was awarded the MacArthur prize this past year) in 2009 about the Bach:
After a full life of college teaching and choral conducting, at age 83 I needed to renew my contact with JSB. I was missing the intense pleasure of preparing the Mass, Passions and cantatas, and although I had not seriously practiced the piano since college I decided to climb Mt. Everest and challenged myself to learn the Goldberg.

Listening to the Goldberg can never equal the experience of putting this music into fingers, mind and soul. As amazing as the sacred choral music is, it does not give a complete picture of that incredible mind and spirit. And some of the Goldberg is surely sacred. Variation 25 and 15 would be at home in the Mass, and even #3, indulged at a slow tempo is not unlike a cantata duet for two sopranos. But the humor, the robust vitality, practically everything you can think of as being the realm of music, from profound sadness to a sly sense of the showoff virtuoso, is there. I think I know Bach more as a human being than was ever possible without studying this piece.

I live just a short walk from the Lakeside School in Seattle, and so of course have often heard you play. This unique possibility to hear you as soloist and chamber music partner is one of the special pleasures of this series. Your gifts are abundant, but I have particularly enjoyed the energy and commitment of your ensemble playing. Your last, intense glance at your fellow musicians before you begin is symptomatic of what we can expect to hear. I am deeply disappointed that you will not be playing the Goldberg, but perhaps another year? In the meantime, I will enjoy your blogs.

Robert Scandrett 
Say a lot about Bob, doesn't it!

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