“Little Paris” was how Leipzig in the economic boom of the early 18th century was known. Coffee houses sprang up forming new social arenas; new fashions and social conventions were forumulated, and, with the shift in perspective, a new and exciting platform for the arts was made, meaning NEW MUSIC.
New to the town, in his first secular position as Director of Music of Leipzig University Students’ Musical Society (1729-42) J S Bach was already at the forefront of artistic life. In Zimmermann’s coffee house on Leipzig’s fashionable Katharinenstrasse, he headed friday night meetings – exchanges of new ideas and music – which would eventually immortalise Leipzig’s musical aesthetic and push tonal harmony and form into areas the world had never seen before.
For Bach, the concerts provided a change from the formality of his services to the city as a church musician and his students created an opportunity for him to produce new works and adapt existing ones, performing them with Leipzig’s latest talent. At Zimmermann’s, music by Telemann and Handel was approached with energy, enthusiasm and an attitude of exploration. HIs famous ‘Coffee Cantata’ received its world première, and the concertos for one, two, three and four harpsichords were among other works played, with Bach, his sons and pupils probably as soloists.
What we are creating with the LBS Bach Club
The LBS Bach Club aims to create a similar platform for young artists and musicians today. Reflecting the Leipzig students’ Friday gatherings, we aim to create a contemporary forum for 18-30s to come and share ideas, make contacts and appreciate Bach’s music in an informal atmosphere. FREE TICKETS are issued for each meeting, where a mix of special guests from the world of professional music and those at the beginning of their careers will apperar on the Bill – a launch pad for some, as well as a showcase for the best in Bach. We are aiming to commission works for a première in the 2012 meeting, and are always looking for new and exciting performers; get in touch!
Our achievements so far
2009 Launch Date at November Bachfest, Bach-Handel-Telemann with Anthony Robson, Matthew Truscott, Steinitz Bach Players, Philip Higham and Les Mélomanes
2010 A special gig with James Rhodes and some special audience guests – entreprenour Sir David Tang jetting in from Paris, actor Benedict Cumberbatch after a day’s filming and artist Tracey Emin after a day assembling her next exhibition
2011 Rodolfo and James kept us spellbound with their magical playing of three Bach Sonatas
Rodolfo Richter (violin) was our star guest playing some iconic Bach Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord with James Johnstone and to a full Picture Gallery at the Bach Club meeting 7.45pm on Friday 4 November in the famous Foundling Museum in central London. Once again this Club gathering was part of the London Bach Society’s annual Bachfest.
This is what Bach’s second son Carl Philipp Emanuel had to say about these wonderful pieces in 1774 “The Sonatas are mong the best works of my dear departed Father. They still sound excellent and give me much joy, although they date back more than fifty years…”
Our thanks to everyone who came to make it three full houses in a row! Intern and Bach Club member Ruth Mariner has written an article to be published in our Journal on 5th March 2012 - go to Bach Notes page to download your copy.
Watch this space for our meeting in 2o12