Segments in this Video

Introduction: The Riddle of Bach (03:59)


Scott Yoo will examine the personality of Johann Sebastian Bach. Alice Dade and the violinist will travel across Germany and France to meet other contemporary musicians. Bach's solo violin works are called "The Himalayas." (Credits)

National Concert Hall (03:02)

Alice Sara Ott chooses a piano for a concert depending on the required tone. The "Chaconne" is prayer-like. There is some light in Bach's dark musical compositions.

Bach: Leipzig (05:01)

The Gewandhaus was founded during Bach's lifetime. Andreas Schulz describes how the orchestra is a living history; Yoo plays "Preludia" from "Partita No. 3." Christoph Wolff describes the composer's personality as skeptical but friendly.

Bach: Weimar (04:03)

Gareth Lubbe plays the principal viola in the Gewandhaus. Andreas Jacobs describes how Bach drank dark beer in the Elephant Cellar and was inspired by Antonio Vivaldi Concertos. Dade and Yoo play the "Badinerie" from "Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor."

Christmas Market (02:38)

Dade reminisces about living in Germany as a child. Yoo and his wife attempt to decipher Bach's riddle.

Bach's Church (05:36)

St. Thomas Choir will rehearse the "Christmas Oratorio." Dade and Yoo attend a party hosted by the Gewandhaus musicians; Hayden Chisholm performs a version of "Bach Prelude 2." Listen to an excerpt of the Cello Suite.

Bach: Kothen (08:19)

Schulz explains how Bach wrote most of the violin solos at the request of Prince Leopold, his patron, and friends. Secret doors in Saint Jakob's church connect to the crypt where the prince is buried. Yoo discusses the baptism of Bach's son, Carl Philipp Emanuel.

Bach's Riddle (04:03)

Yoo realizes that the solution includes a portion of the "Goldberg Variations." Peter Wollny confirms the solution is correct. Baroque music incorporates dance rhythmic patterns and phrase structure.

Bach: Chaumont-En-Vexin (04:54)

A tiny plectrum plucks harpsichord strings. Lillian Gordis plays an instrument tuned by Laurent Soumagnac. C-sharp major chords could not be played until the middle of the 18th century.

Bach: Paris (04:17)

Gautier Capucon plays the prelude from "Cello Suite No. 1" and Astor Piazzolla's "Grand Tango" at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Dance inspires folk music.

Classical Dancing (06:17)

Yoo and Dade dress up in Baroque costumes to learn the dances of the time period. Musicians play the Bourree as Edith Lalonger and her students perform. Bach's music needs the rhythm and tone of dance.

Credits: The Riddle of Bach (00:57)

Credits: The Riddle of Bach

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The Riddle of Bach

Part of the Series : Great Performances: Now Hear This (Season 1)
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Yoo goes to Germany to learn Bach’s solo violin works, and discovers a riddle that Bach left in his portrait. In trying to solve it, Yoo and his wife Alice Dade, a leading flutist, discover Bach’s true character.

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL203090

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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